Raising a child is not easy or inexpensive. Daycare, clothing, food, and medical needs all add up over the years. If you are not getting any financial support from the other parent or need to modify that amount, you may want to go through the court to make it official.
Find the Other Parent
The court needs to know where the other parent is. Without this information, you cannot open a child support claim. You must do what you can to find the other parent. Check with your local court services office for help in determining where the other parent lives. Even if you can’t find a residential address, a work address, including the company, will suffice to get the ball rolling. If you and the other parent were never married, you might need to confirm paternity. This process usually involves a DNA test. A birth certificate listing both parents is not sufficient to prove paternity.
Confirm Your Financial Information
In most states, child support is based on the income of both parents and the state-calculated need of the child. If you have never established child support before, you will need to gather all of your financial information, including things like:
- Proof of health insurance for your child
- Receipts showing payments made for medical care
- Daycare receipts
- Cost of living receipts
The state-based guidelines can help you get an idea of what your basic child support payments will be. Since you may not have the other parent’s income information yet, you may not get a clear picture until much later in the process.
Gather Previous Court Orders
If you are divorced and need to modify child support, you will want to have all of your previous paperwork at hand. Circumstances may have changed for you or your ex that will necessitate an adjustment in support. Even if you were not married to the other parent, you should have any prior agreements regarding child support or visitation you established before the breakup. If nothing like that exists, you may have to prepare yourself for the possibility that the other parent will want a share in your child’s life.
While you may not need a lawyer for child support requests, it is always a good idea to have one. If the process is not a smooth one and turns into a custody fight, then you want an advocate on your side who knows the process. A lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from Robinson & Hadeed, should be able to be there to assist with whatever comes your way.