Child support is a policy in which the payment for the financial support and upbringing of a child has to be made regularly. Child support often is a necessity in cases of divorce, invalid marriages or children born out of non-marital relationships. Here, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent or the guardian who is responsible for bringing up the child.
Listed below are the steps a parent/guardian should take when filing for child support.
Step 1: File the Case
The first thing to do is to file the case in the court system. With regards to divorce, the case must be filed immediately after the legal separation. If the child is born out of a non-marital relationship, the case must be filed as soon as possible, after the birth of child. In such cases, it is important to also file a parentage action to let know the courts know who the other parent is.
There are child support agencies that can help throughout the process of filing the court case and are especially useful when one parent is out of state and needs to be located. Alternatively, a child support attorney can be hired to represent the custodial parent, or the custodial parent can even choose to represent herself. It is wise to hire a lawyer who knows and understands the entire process and can get the job done easily.
Step 2: Provide the Necessary Information
When filing the complaint, the parent/guardian is required to complete a form and provide necessary information to the court such as the name of the parents, identification data, social security number or tax identification number, details regarding marriage and divorce, names of the children involved, etc.
Step 3: Submit the Required Documents
When filing for child support, the parent/guardian is required to submit certain documents like a:
- valid photo ID card
- contact information
- proof of address
- birth certificate of the child/children for whom the support is being claimed
- social security card of parent/guardian and of the child/children
- proof of wage information
- payment history
- personal property description (if any)
- divorce order
In cases where children are born out of a non-marital relationship or parentage of child is denied (or is not mentioned in the birth certificate), a proof of paternity or parentage is required. In cases of paternity fraud or where the paternity is not accepted, a DNA test report may be necessary.
Step 4: Request a Hearing Date
Once all the formalities are completed, the parent/guardian should then request a hearing date from the court. The court will provide a hearing date and will inform the non-custodial parent that the child support case has been filed against him and that he will be requested to attend the court hearing.
Step 5: Attend the Court Hearing
The court validates all the information. The parents will be required to answer any questions and concerns the court may have regarding parenthood. If the court finds the case convincing, it will provide an order to the non-custodial parent to begin timely payments for child support, as well as any other necessities that may arise.
The whole procedure is a little lengthy and takes some time. Be patient and wait for the results.