Is there another means of getting government financial assistance to help raise my kids other than child support? My ex-wife is disabled and unable to afford any sort of child support payments.
While I cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based in the jurisdiction where I practice.
In Pennsylvania, while there may be cash benefits or welfare assistance available from the government for the care of children, there is also the obligation of the parents to pay support for the care and maintenance of their children. The obligation of one parent to pay child support to the other parent is mandated by law and the amount mostly depends on the parties’ respective incomes (or a possible earning capacity assigned by the court if they do not work).
Moreover, whether a party is due child support (as well as how much child support should be given) depends, in part, on the custody arrangement and amount of time the parties respectively have with their children.
Even if a parent is not receiving income, the court can assign an income, or earning capacity, to the parent for purposes of calculating child support. See Pa.R.C.P. Rule 1910.16-2(d)(4). Yet when a parent has a disability, the court may need to make a determination as to whether that disability prevents the parent from either working or being assigned an earning capacity. This determination is very specific to the facts as they relate to the parent, her work history, and her alleged disabilities.
Due to the extremely sensitive and fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how Pennsylvania’s laws can specifically help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in Pennsylvania and how they particularly impact your potential case.