Perhaps one of the biggest, and most costly, misconceptions about the divorce process is that fathers are not entitled to receive child support. This notion is rooted in the outdated assumption that persists in family court that the mother is the caregiver and the father is the family’s breadwinner.
This stereotype is causing many dads to miss out on money that could be used to help provide for their children. While it is true that men make up the majority of child support providers, the number of stay-at home dads has nearly doubled since 1989, and nearly half of those men live in poverty. Moreover, some research suggests that women will soon be earning more income than their male counterparts.
If a father has sacrificed his career to stay home and take care of his kids while his wife remains in the workforce then it is only fair for that dad to ask for child support in the event of divorce.
Some dads feel a stigma about asking for child support. Others are unfamiliar with how to file for support.
Fathers should not hesitate to ask for child support if they need financial help raising their child, and they should educate themselves about how the system works so they know what to expect.
Who can ask for child support?
Typically, the parent who has primary custody is entitled to child support. Some states allow a parent to receive child support if custody is shared if the other parent makes more money.
Who helps with getting child support?
The child support system works a little differently in each state. In some states, a child support enforcement agency helps custodial parents seeking a child support order from the court. Other states only give assistance to lower-income individuals or who are receiving financial assistance from the state.
A men’s divorce attorney who focuses on fathers’ rights can assist dads seeking child support.
What information is needed when requesting child support?
Regardless of whether you use a state child support agency or a family law attorney, you will need to provide certain information to obtain a child support order.
First and foremost, you will need the mother’s contact information with her last known address and place of employment.
It is possible you also will need to provide a birth certificate and proof of paternity.
Other financial information also will likely be required, such as information regarding your income and expenses related to raising the child.
How much child support will I receive?
Generally, state child support laws say that children are entitled to financial support from both their parents. Each state establishes its own set of child support guidelines that determine how much financial support a child will need that is based on several different factors.
These guidelines are used to come up with a basic amount of child support that the parent who receives it is entitled to. However, it is important to note that there can be special circumstances, such as medical expenses or high childcare costs, that justify the court deviating from the standard amount of child support provided by these guidelines.
Online child support calculators can help you figure out how much child support you might be entitled to.
What is included in a child support order?
Most child support orders will list how much monthly or weekly child support the other parent is required to pay. It also may note that the parent’s income will be automatically withheld from their paycheck to cover the child support payment. This step is useful in making sure payments are not missed.
What if my ex doesn’t pay?
There are typically a number of child support enforcement options if the other parent refuses to pay court-ordered child support.
By failing to pay, the other parent can be held in contempt of court, which has a number of potential consequences. Other enforcement mechanisms may include suspending the other parent’s driver’s license, intercepting tax refunds, reporting debt to credit bureaus, or garnishing wages.