Whether you are falling behind on child support payments or are a custodial parent trying to enforce your rights, the court system offers relief for non-married parents struggling to find common ground in splitting the cost of raising children.
For the non–custodial parent, life changes such as loss of a employment, health benefits or emergency expenses can cause anyone to fall behind in their bills. However, a person with a child support order needs to act promptly to avoid serious consequences that include a driver's license suspension, wage garnishment and possible criminal charges.
Many parents avoid the court system because of lack of time and resources. After all, raising children as a single parent can make visits to the courthouse difficult. However, it is important for the future of your children to keep the court involved in your child support payments. A child will not benefit if the child support payment is too high and the parent is forced into debt.
However, many parents try to find ways around paying for child support. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars in legal fees that could be going toward child support, use community measures first. If you are unable to locate the parent of your child for support, try utilizing the services of a non-profit organization which advocate children's rights.
There are local, low–cost and free legal clinics that provide information on filing the necessary paperwork to institute a court order for child support. If you are able to contact the parent, be civil and keep communication lines open. Treat one another with respect and discuss finances openly. Keep a budget and receipts of your child's expenses so you can approach the non-paying parent with realistic and concrete numbers of how much it costs to raise his or her child.
Often times a parents will refuse to pay child support because he or she disagrees with the way the child is being disciplined or raised. When other issues aside from the money prevent child support payments, family counseling can help ease tensions and improve the relationship between the former partners.
For families without the means to pay for health insurance, there are family counseling services that offer a sliding-fee scale or no cost services to work out issues of distrust and family values that block the lines of successful communication between parents.
If poor budgeting and financing is at the root of a child support issue, encourage the parent to seek credit counseling. Again, utilizing the services of a non-profit organization is an excellent way to take control of your credit and budget crisis. Remember that helping the parent will, in the long-run, help the future of your child.
For many parents who have given an ex-spouse or former partner more than enough chances to pay child support, the court system is often the best way to get assistance in paying their child's bills. If you have already exhausted all means necessary then be sure to keep accurate records of expenses to present to the court. Implementing a personal budget will be the best way to show the judge or court official what amount of child support is reasonable and justifiable. Inflating your budget with unnecessary expenses to punish the other non-paying parent may just make it more difficult for that parent to catch up on child support payments.
An honest, straightforward number crunch each month speaks volumes to the court. If you can provide this documentation, you will be helping both parents finance your child's future and reduce the hassles and heartbreak long associated with child support conflicts
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