When it comes to divorce, it is a hard subject to discuss or explain to little children. The same goes for custody issues. The divorce process could be long and the next concern will be how to get child support and other entitlements. In some cases, it can be hard to get child support after divorce case. Usually, in a divorce, the custody of the child will be awarded to a party. Problem develops if the custodian of the child is no longer providing the child support that he/she agreed to provide. However, someone has to continue providing support. If you are finding it difficult to get child support, what can you do? No doubt, the realization that you are not able to cater for the needs of the child can be overwhelming, even depressing. For this reason, it is imperative to know how to get child support and the necessary steps to be taken.
Every child has the right to be cared for and this right is universal. During divorce process, it is not unusual for your attorney to have writs filed seeking child support from your ex. Whether there was a prior agreement between the two of you or not, it is not out of place to get an order issued that lay out the exact amount to be paid every month. Also, the rights of either spouse to file for changes to it whenever the need arise must be included in the court order. You will need to prepare for future challenge by having everything in writing. If you are the one currently giving support, time may come when you will need your ex to offer assistance. Again, if your ex was responsible for the support, but now stops paying the payments, you will need the previously written document to pursue a claim through Child Support Enforcement Agencies.
There are many folks out there who are not prepared for this kind of ordeal and may not know how to get child support should they found their marriage hitting the rock. Some who are currently in need of child support may lack necessary knowledge on how to set child support matter in motion and see it to reasonable conclusion. It is the goal of this piece to address that and some important things associating with child support. Let us begin by learning how to set out getting child support.
How to get child support started
There are four important steps to follow to get child support and these can be seen below.
1. Locating the Other Parent: This is first important step to get child support. It is imperative to know the present location or whereabouts of your ex. His/her personal details such as contact information, address, employer, and any other useful details should be sought. The reason why you should start by locating the other parent is that the court will require these details and a court cannot order support payments without these details.
However, it may be difficult locating the other parent, especially if the divorce happened long time ago. So, if you do not have all these information, you may get free assistance locating the other parent. Every state has state Child Support Services Agency and through this agency, you can be helped to locate the other parent. These state agencies are equipped with many resources through which they can easily find out your ex whereabouts. In addition, other agencies of government such as Federal Parent Locator Service, United States Posta Service, Credit Reporting Agencies, and utility companies can offer assistance to locate the other parent.
2. Determine Fatherhood: The next step is establishing the paternity of the child. If it happened that you and your ex were not married at the time your child was born or the identity of the child’s father is doubtful, you will need to determine legal fatherhood or paternity before you can access child support. Usually, in a situation described earlier, DNA testing is used to determine fatherhood. But in some other cases, the father may sign an acceptance of paternity. Thus, it is important to establish paternity before courts will decide on child support or custody.
3. Agree Terms of Child Support Payment: Another important step on how to get child support is determining the child support payment. To do this, you need to go to court to obtain a child support court order. However, this court order may become unnecessary if you and your ex are able to come to a child support arrangement on your own without involving the courts or the State Child Support Services Agency. This arrangement is called “child support by agreement.” But, bear in mind that this agreement is not legally binding. Should your ex later refuse to fulfill his obligation, a court will not be able to implement your agreement.
But, in case of presence of a court order and your ex refuse to pay, certain fees and penalties may be imposed on your ex. In addition, the child support services agency of your state also has a number of methods it can deploy to ensure compliance with court order. Some enforcement methods it can use include: interception of tax refunds, suspension of driver’s and professional licenses, and making available report of violation to credit reporting agencies.
Moreover, requesting a court order requires filing a petition with the court. The court will then determine the amount of child support that will be awarded by referring to your state’s child support guidelines. This is the method used by courts in all states to calculate child support. The guidelines also allow deviation from the method by the judge when making support determinations, especially if it would result in an unfair outcome to one or both parties.
4. Amendment to Terms of Child Support Payment: Although you might have secured a court order, there is opportunity to still ask the court to increase or decrease the amount of child support you receive. This could be necessitated by change of circumstances in your own life or that of your child. This process is known as a “Request for Child Support Modification.” But, this change in circumstance must be significant or major as in job loss or disability to be granted by the court.
These are the steps you need to follow to get child support started. You may not go through all the steps if your aim was accomplished in the first three. After you have completed these steps, you may want to know how much you can get for child support. There are procedures being followed to calculate how much you will get.
How much can I receive from child support?
There are some factors that will be considered when determining how much you can get from child support. There are also different regulations on how to get child support in each state. You will need to check with your state child support agency to find out about child support regulations in your state. It is important to prepare your case well because each judge or commissioner will have his or her own interpretational method of the regulations. You may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney to help prepare the case. And if you cannot afford one, you may wish to contact your state’s public assistance department for help.
During the process of determining how much you can get, there are some factors to be looked at including: The custody arrangement, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, the standard of living of the child before divorce, financial needs of the child, and income and ability of the parent to pay child support. These factors are critical to how much you can get.
Among the above criteria, the financial ability of the parent to pay comes first. Basically, child support payments are determined by the parents’ incomes. Every source of income will be carefully considered by the court, apart from the final custody arrangement. A detail list of all sources of income of the other parent will be required by the court as well as your own list and these will become the major determinant of the cash to be awarded.
So, when the court has determined the income of both parents, it multiplies the amount of custody time the child spends with a parent by how much each of the parents earns. Depending on the custody arrangement, the court will use different calculation methods to decide upon the amount. This process can be complicated sometimes. Therefore, you may check with state child support agency to see if there is provision that helps you to automatically calculate the likely total child support when income and custody information are entered. However, sometimes, child support payment by the other party may not be forthcoming. What can you do?
How to collect back child support
If the other parent has not made child support payments as ordered by the court, the parent must pay back child support. This is a debt and the repayment might include fees and interest charges. Often, states handle back child support case. Sometimes, the federal government could get involved if the obligor has not pay for at least two years. It is required that the parent who owe back child support should pay the debt in full, even if the child is already grown up.
When a party fails to pay back child support, you should report the matter to the authority and notify the Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement. Often, the state or federal government, as the case may be, will take decisive action against the defaulter to force payment. Some penalties could be applied by the state and these include: seizure of tax refund, wage garnishment, property seizure, suspension of licenses, seizure of passport, and jail time.
In addition, how to get child support back is made possible through a provision called “Child Support Lien.” This lien is used to place a hold upon property until the overdue payment is made. If the lien is not treated, it is not possible to sell or transfer the property.
The above are ways to collect back child support. No doubt, getting child support is tasking due to processes you have to follow and the challenges that may come up. But, with these information on how to get child support, you should be able receive necessary supports to care for your child without tear.