Virtually any single parent knows child support is available to them; however, many single parents do not receive child support. Some do not even bother attempting to collect child support.
Child support amounts and calculation formulas are set by law in every state in the United States. Some states us a guideline approach, some use a percentage of income approach, some decide on a case by case basis focusing on the needs of the children when calculating child support. In other cases where parents share custody of a child or children, a different approach may be used based upon the amount of time each party spends with their child.
Unless relieved of the obligation to pay child support by law, every non-custodial parent has an obligation to support their children. This is particularly true in situations where the custodial parent does not earn as much as the non-custodial parent.
Many custodial parents often wonder why they are raising their child or children alone and the non-custodial parent does not have to pay any support. The basic answer to this dilemma is that in order to receive child support, the parent seeking child support must first ask to have child support calculated.
This request can be made directly to the non-custodial parent. It can be made through the Family Courts of the state where the children live or it can even be made outside of court through the state agency charged with child support enforcement, frequently the Department of Social Services or Child Protective Services.
If the custodial parent seeks support from the non-custodial parent directly, they may receive the child support, but the amount may not be consistent with what the law requires and there is often no method for enforcing the obligation if the payments fall behind.
The best ways to obtain child support are to go through the Court or through the appropriate state agency.
If a person goes through the Court, they will likely have to retain an attorney, but the child support can be calculated and set much quicker. As well, since the obligation will be part of a Court order, it can be enforced if the payments fall behind.
If a person goes through the appropriate state agency, it is generally at no cost to them, but can take longer and the only issue that can be addressed is child support calculation. The obligation will, however, be enforceable through the Courts.
The goal of any person seeking child support is to have it enforceable through the Courts. If a person falls behind in child support, they can be made to appear before the Courts and can be punished for non-payment. They can even be placed in jail. They can also be made to participate in work release meaning they will have to live at the jail, but will be released for work each day and all or a portion of their earnings can be seized to apply to any outstanding child support obligation.
It is also possible to seek outstanding child support arrearages through the Federal Courts if when certain factors exist as such is a violation of federal laws.
In addition to this, if child support is paid through the Courts, state and federal income tax refunds may be seized to go towards any arrearage.
Child support is designed to benefit children. Single parents owe it to their children to speak to an attorney or a representative from the appropriate state agency to learn more about having a child support obligation set for non-custodial parents.