How To Win Child Support

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In a custody hearing knowing how to win child support will be crucial to the outcome of the case. When couples decide to dissolve a marriage or end a relationship that produced offspring, children should not have to suffer the consequences of a breakup. It is the view of the state that biological parents should provide support for minors regardless of marital status; and one of the biggest concerns is that a standard of living be maintained. Financial support is largely determined by custody arrangements based on the income of the father and mother and their individual ability to provide a safe, nurturing environment. Whether custody will be shared, split with explicit rights of visitation, or solely awarded to one custodial parent, the father and mother must submit sufficient information to the court to justify support payments. Naturally, the custodial parent who has the greatest responsibility but the lesser income will want to know how to win child support to ensure the child's future viability. A one-night stand or a one-year marriage might end, but children require a lifetime of care; and someone has to be willing to pay.

The first step in how to win child support is to solicit the aid of an attorney to file a case against the non-custodial parent. If the father and mother cannot come to an agreement outside of court, a petition must be filed in the state of residence. A judge will preside over a hearing to determine the amount to be paid by the non-custodial spouse or significant other based on several criteria: the income of the father and mother; monthly expenses for the child's housing, clothing, education, food, dental or medical bills, and other special needs; and the cost of child day care for minor children. Special needs children will require additional income, as will adolescents up to age 18. The Bible states explicitly that fathers are to provide for their children; and those who do not are considered an infidel--one who is outside of the Christian faith or unfaithful. "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (I Timothy 5:8).

A father or mother who has sole custody should carefully consult with an attorney about reasonable support payments. The court will consider both parents' earning ability, potential cost of living increases, and whether the non-custodial father or mother is already making payments to a third party. It is not the intent of the court to bankrupt either parent, but to ensure that children are adequately cared for. The court will take into consideration each parent's gross annual income, and then deduct support or alimony already being made to other children and a former partner(s). The net amount is considered as an adjustable income from which each parent pays a certain percentage. In the event one parent has no income, computations are made based on the earning ability of just one parent.

An experienced attorney can guide a plaintiff in compiling evidence to substantiate a demand for payment based on gross income and monthly expenses, such as a mortgage or rental agreement; receipts for day care, medication, or dental bills; vehicle expenses, and clothing. The last three years of federal and state income tax returns is ample proof of income. The best recourse in how to win child support is to present thorough documentation of monthly expenses--signed lease agreements, mortgage contracts, and receipts from doctors and dentists-- to substantiate a claim. The judge will not want to hear evidence for a demand for payments based on conjecture, hearsay, or word of mouth. In many cases where the paternity of the child is questioned, a man named as the father of a child for whom the mother has sought an attorney on how to win child support may submit to DNA testing. Paternity tests can either be ordered by the attorney for the plaintiff or the legal counsel for the defense.

In a split or shared custody case, the non-custodial parent will also want to make a good case for how to win child support to avoid paying disproportionately. In a shared custody case, if the child will reside with the non-custodial parent for a third of the year, then they should only be expected to pay for two-thirds of the annual expenses. The court understands that the father or mother with whom the child resides for the greater part of the year will bear the bulk of the expense, but the judge will also take into account both parents' incomes. Some women make more money than men; and have a lesser need for support payments. Divorced parents who remarry may also not be in a position to make exorbitant monthly payments to a former mate or partner. Thus, the importance of consulting an experienced attorney in preparing financial documentation cannot be overstated. The burden of proof in how to win child support is on the parent who files the case.

Failure to pay child support can eventually earn a parent some jail time. Just as each state has specific requirements on how to win child support, different penalties are also enforced for non-payment. Slackers can have drivers' licenses revoked, wages garnisheed, fines imposed, or be arrested and placed in jail. Considering the legal complications involved in child custody and support cases, spouses and significant others should seriously weigh the consequences of divorce and separation on the welfare of the children they bear.

How To Get Child Support

The process for how to get child support is relatively simple. A custodial parent or primary caregiver should contact the state or county child support enforcement agency to request an application. Forms may be downloaded from state or county government websites, picked up at a local office, or requested by telephone and mailed to an applicant. Once received, forms should be filled out as thoroughly as possible, stating the name and address of the applicant; name, date of birth, and address of each dependent child; contact information such as a telephone number; and date of divorce or formal separation from the non-custodial parent. Agencies may charge a processing fee per application or waive the fee for low-income applicants who receive public assistance.

Office or telephone personnel can provide information on how to get child support and properly complete the application or where to turn it in for processing. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:" (I Peter 2:13-15).

Once an application for how to get child support is received, processing might take from six to eight weeks, depending on backlogs. The more thorough applicants are in filling out paperwork, the faster applications can be processed. Attaching proper documentation will ensure a quicker response. Applicants should include a copy of the final divorce decree or legal separation notice to substantiate the relationship between the custodial and non-custodial parent, along with the effective date support should have been warranted. The divorce decree or formal separation should be signed by a judge or magistrate and will include the legal name of the proposed obligor. Parents who need to know how to get child support orders enforced will also need to present proper documentation. An order awarded by the court will stipulate the amount granted to a dependent minor or custodial parent. Child support enforcement agencies are adept at collecting delinquent payments and obligors in default are subject to have their drivers licenses revoked or wages garnisheed to guarantee that minors are cared for. "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (I Timothy 5:8).

In lieu of a final divorce decree, the court will also accept a Petition for Marital Dissolution as proof of a pending judgment. Frequently custodial parents undergoing divorce proceedings may petition the court for a temporary order of support. How to get child support payments on a temporary basis is crucial because a minor's need for shelter, food, clothing, education or health care does not cease simply because parents have separated. Filing for proceedings can be a lengthy process; therefore, the custodial parent should be conscientious in following steps on pursuing help for a minor's maintenance.

Changes in an obligor's income or a cessation of payments should also be reported to the enforcement agency. If the obligor has been making payments but fails to comply due to unemployment or chronic illness, or has moved out of state, or has an increased income; the primary caregiver will want to know how to get child support decrees enforced or adjusted accordingly. Maintenance agreements are based on the mother and father's income, less living expenses. A man who has more than one child with one or more women may be obligated to make numerous payments; but the court is still interested in each minor's needs being met. The courts objective is to provide for dependent children commensurate with an obligor's ability to pay, taking into consideration extenuating circumstances.

A primary caregiver should also be aware that money received outside of the maintenance decree is considered a gift and not court ordered support. To be properly credited, an obligor should make payments directly to the enforcement agency. Custodial parents should bear in mind that the process for how to get child support does not include annotating gifts of money, toys, clothing or other property freely given by the obligor to a minor child. The court is primarily interested in providing for a minor's basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education. An obligor should understand that money paid directly to the child's mother does not negate the responsibility to comply with a court-ordered judgment. Fathers who want to lavish their kids with expensive electronics, high end clothing or shoes, or high priced toys may do so with the full understanding that these indulgences will not be applied to maintenance payments.

In the final analysis, adults are obligated to care for children resulting from a casual affair or a long term marriage. Men who are man enough to father children should also be man enough to provide for them. A disservice is done to mothers and children who must resort to appealing to the court to get deadbeat dads to honor their obligations. Thankfully, there is a legal system in place which is designed to ensure that the welfare of mothers with dependent children does not go lacking in spite of a father's inability or unwillingness to be a good provider. Knowing how to get child support decrees established or enforced is the first line of defense for a dependent but innocent child.

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