Seeking Child Support: A Guide for Young Mothers

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Young mothers often have difficulty finding the resources they need to raise their children. In many cases, they are left without any financial support from their fathers and rely on government assistance.

A young mother’s journey through this process is fraught with challenges that she can overcome by educating herself about seeking child support. This guide will provide the information needed to face these matters and understand your rights as a parent.

Verbal Settlement

When you decide to have a child, the father is automatically responsible for any child support he may owe. Legal advice in your area can help you determine what types of verbal arrangements you and the father have made — even if there was no written agreement or understanding.

It means that without going to court, a man cannot walk away from his paternal responsibilities. If the father does not want to be responsible for child support, he will refuse fatherhood altogether.

Mediation

Judicial arbitration mediation services can be helpful for mothers who want to resolve the issue without going through a lengthy and expensive court process.

The law in your area may allow mothers to seek child support without waiting until paternity is established or during any legal proceedings. You may also use mediation services after paternity has been confirmed.

You can find these services in your area by calling or visiting your local courthouse.

Child Support Eligibility

To receive child support, you must understand the eligibility requirements for obtaining this financial resource. A mother can receive child support through a court order if she has primary custody of her children under 18 years old.

If both parents have custody, the parent who receives the support will determine who has had control over the past six months. The parent who has the majority of time with the child gets priority for receiving child support.

If both parents have custody, neither should pay child support to the other. If one parent needs financial assistance through child support, that parent should seek government resources or ask an attorney about filing a petition for temporary relief orders.

Establishment of Paternity

You must establish paternity to seek child support. If the mother was married during the pregnancy and birth of her child, paternity is automatically legally recognized and can no longer be challenged.

If the mother was not married when the child was born, she could ask for a paternity court order. A child with no legal father cannot qualify for certain government benefits. A mother is eligible for these benefits only after the establishment of paternity.

You must initiate the process through your local child support office or file a Petition to Establish Parentage form in family court. If paternity testing is required, DNA samples are collected from both parents and the child.

Levying Paychecks for Child Support

Suppose you have established legal custody of your children but are still unable to get your former partner’s cooperation with supporting them financially. In that case, you may want to consider taking steps to collect child support through his employer.

The procedure for doing this varies from state to state, so contact your local child support office or lawyer for specific information.

You should also expect the father’s employer to notify him of the withholding and other necessary notifications regarding his monthly earnings and deductions.

Child Support Enforcement Services

You may choose to receive financial assistance through child support enforcement services in your area. These adult-to-adult programs offer mediation when conflicts about child support arise, including when the parties share custody of their children equally.

If you qualify for financial assistance through child support enforcement, you will be assigned to a caseworker who can assist you with any additional services provided by your state.

Court Procedures

If you are involved in a paternity or child support case, your involvement may be entirely in court. Paternity cases are usually heard by judges, while you can hold child support hearings before judges or magistrates.

Either parent has the right to request a trial for any further disputes or disagreements regarding paternity or child support. The court will notify you of your court date and time if you request a trial.

Before appearing in court, be sure to gather as much documentation as possible regarding paternity testing and expenses related to the child’s birth and care. Check with your local courthouse for specific information about how child support hearings are conducted within your state.

If you are a young mother seeking child support, it is crucial to be aware of your resources. With the correct information and legal help, you can get the financial assistance you need to provide for your children.

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