How To Receive Child Support From An Absent Parent

Roughly 26% of American children lived with only one parent in 2019 (23% lived with a single mother and 3% lived with a single father). Absent parents often don't pay child support. However, single parents have a right to financial support from the person who helped create the child. When you finally decide to take matters into your own hands, follow these steps to initiate child support from an uninvolved parent. 

Step One: Create a Detailed Financial Rep

To start, create a detailed picture of your financial situation, including pay stubs and receipts, especially receipts related to raising your child. You should also include any documentation you have regarding your ex's finances.

Step Two: Communicate Your Intentions with Your Child's Other Parent

You should take the time to tell your ex that you plan to start the legal process for child support. Your child's other parent will then be able to express their feelings about the situation. This conversation is merely a courtesy; it's not an opportunity to create a verbal agreement. Do not make informal arrangements as they can't be enforced by the court. At this time, ask for your ex's contact information and job situation. 

Step Three: Enlist the Services of a Lawyer

Get a lawyer to help you through the process of getting child support. The lawyer will be able to answer all of your legal questions. They will also advise you on what to say and do throughout the proceedings to get the best results. 

Step Four: File a Petition with the Court

Once you are ready, you will need to file a petition with the court to get a formal child support order. Legal paperwork can get extremely complicated. Your lawyer will file the paperwork for you. You will have peace of mind that the paperwork was indeed filed properly and that the paperwork presents your case in the most favorable light.

Step Five: Determine Custody 

Your child's parent may request custody after learning they will have to pay for the child. In most cases, the courts will grant custody to both parents. However, an uninvolved parent may get visitation instead of joint custody. Parents who engage in high-risk behavior may also have their visitation with the child reduced. Every case is different, so you'll need to examine your case to find the best solution for your child. You may need to enlist the services of your family lawyer again, as custody may be resolved during a different case. 

For more information, contact a family law agency near you.