Solving your Legal Puzzle.

How to Start Child Support Papers

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Unfortunately, some of us don’t get the happy ending on our first try.  When a relationship goes south, things can get really messy.  If you have children, the most important thing to consider is doing what’s best to take care of them.  Whether you are married or not, supporting your child should be a priority.  Make sure there is a formal agreement between you and your former partner in place regarding financial support for your children.  If you are unable to work out such an agreement, or if the terms are not being met, it’s a good idea to officially file for child support.

Fill out your paperwork.

As long as there is established paternity, the process begins by filling out some forms which are available at your local family court, or conveniently online.  You can always obtain legal counsel and have a lawyer help make your claim for you. Finding a family lawyer can make a difference in how your child support process goes. Keep in mind, the process may vary from state to state.

Serve papers.

Once you’ve filled out all the necessary paperwork, file it with the county clerk’s office at your designated Family Court. Once your paperwork is processed, the parent will be served a summons.  You should receive a proof of service from the server, which is your proof that the parent was given the summons.

Request Temporary Support

If you’re in the process of a divorce with the other parent, final resolutions may take time.  If you need support for your children immediately, you can file for temporary support with the court.  A hearing will be scheduled for you and the other parent.  If the court approves, the parent will be ordered to pay a certain monthly support to your children.  This order will remain in place until any other related complaints, such as your divorce is settled.  At that time, a formal support agreement will take affect based on whatever was agreed upon or mandated by court.

What if you don’t know where the other parent is residing?

It’s unfortunate, but some parents just up and leave you in the dust to take care of your child without the necessary financial means.  In the event that you are unsure of where the parent is located, so you can’t serve the papers, you can contact the DOR (Department of Revenue) Child Support Enforcement Division.  They can help track down the parent and get you the child support your kids deserve.

What if you were in a violent relationship and don’t want your children to have visitation.  Can you still request child support?

This is where things get a little bit tricky.  Until your case is resolved with the courts, things will be a bit up in the air.  You can definitely still file for temporary support, as we mentioned previously above.  However, do note, parents have a right to visit their children.  If you and your children have an order of protection in place, then you need to still abide by those conditions, be it no visitation at all, or supervised court visits.  If you are still in the process of working out the terms of your separation and visitation, the other parent may still be entitled to visits.  If you are concerned about the safety of your children, you can file for an order of protection and still request child support.  The order would be temporary on both ends until a judge reviews the entire case and comes to an appropriate decision that is in the best interests of the children.

Filing for child support is a surprisingly simple task at the forefront.  It’s as simple as filling out and submitting basic paperwork.  Where things start to get messy is determining the terms of child support, getting both parties to agree, and of course, getting the parent to actually make the mandated payments.  While navigating these waters may be foreign territory, we hope this helps you understand the steps you need to take to get the financial support you need for your little ones.

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