Although you may be the custodial parent, the financial responsibilities of raising your child are usually not yours to shoulder alone. The child's other parent is also considered responsible for the monetary needs of the child. This means that you can sue them for child support. The following guide can help you know what to expect as well as what you need to do to start the process:
Locate the parent
Although you can sue for child support without knowing the location of the other parent, it is nearly impossible to collect unless you can provide an address on the paperwork. A home address is preferred, but a mailing address or work address can also be useful. If you cannot locate the parent and paternity proof is not an issue, it is still worthwhile to file the paperwork since state tax returns may be garnished to pay if the parent still lives in your state.
Secure proof of paternity
In some cases, you will need to prove paternity if it is the father of the child you are seeking support from. Generally, as long as the father acknowledges the child as his, or he was your spouse at the time of conception and birth, paternity may not be necessary. If you were not married to the father or if he denies paternity, you may need to request a paternity test. Refusal by the father can lead to a court-ordered test.
Detail your income
You must also prove need, and the key to doing this is to detail all of your income. Recent pay stubs and bank statements may be required, or you may have to show tax documents. All income should be listed. Failure to do so can have a negative impact on your claim.
Determine your need
Your income is only one aspect of determining your need. Your expenses also come into play. List all expenses for maintaining your home, such as mortgage and utilities. All child-related expenses should also be provided, such as medical and education costs, childcare expenses, and general household expenses like food and clothing.
File the paperwork
Your final step is to file the paperwork with your local court. Contact a child support lawyer to help you with this step, as they can ensure that the paperwork is properly filled out and that the filing requirements are fulfilled.
In the simplest cases, the judge will make a decision and the other parent will be required to pay. If they contest the amount, you may have to appear in court. This is why having a lawyer is important.
Contact a law office like Cotto Law Firm P.C. for more information and assistance.