If this is your first time having to deal with child support and the child support process, you’re not alone. We understand that it can be a confusing, stressful, and conflict ridden process. Too often parents don’t understand the basics because they have become convoluted. To complicate matters, there isn’t one resource to go to for general information because each state and county – like Los Angeles county – have different child support laws and regulations.
But here are some basic steps to help get you started on the child support process:
- Open a case – Sounds simple, but it really is the first step. You will have to go online to your respective country and apply. Depending on your financial situation, and depending on the county, you may already have been enrolled in a program to collect benefits. If you are going through divorce proceedings, the case will be part of the procedure.
- Find the parent – This may or may not be an issue, but in order to receive child support payments, the county must in fact be able to locate the parent in question. It doesn’t matter if they are out of state – but what matters is that there is a verified address for the other parent in order to fully begin the process.
- Establish paternity or maternity – Establishing paternity can be one of the more conflict ridden processes for child support. But it comes down to having legal recourse to collecting child support. Make sure, whether you are the payer or the payee, that it has been established that the child is in fact related to the mother or father. Without this, the following steps, and the whole child support process, become a lot more difficult.
- Establish a court order – If there is no court order, many counties – like Los Angeles county – will file one on your behalf. Typically it is best to secure the court order early on in the process so that child support payments can begin.
- Enforce the court order – Similar to #4, counties will likely assist you in this manner. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be tracking and following daily. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are collecting your child support, or that you are tracking payments if you are making them. SupportPay can help here – by giving you an easy to use platform that will help track and record payments should any problems arise.
These steps for the child support process are just the basics. There are many nuts and bolts that we haven’t covered here, and it’s important to speak with your attorney or legal counsel on the next steps to take in the child support process. We suggest you start a free trial with SupportPay when you begin the process – it’s the quickest, easiest way to manage and track payments.