It’s a simple question – but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a simple answer: “how can I collect child support?” As many of you probably already know, the family court system is complex and daunting. Even lawyers with degrees from top tier schools can find it difficult to manage. Further, each state has different laws, rules and regulations governing child support. But we can still here. Here is the simplest path on how to get child support:
- Establish paternity – If you are not married, or if the father is disputing paternity, then it’s important to establish legal paternity over the child or children you are looking to receive child support for. Oftentimes a father will submit to a test, either to prove that they are the father, or to challenge it. Needless to say, this is one of the most crucial steps in your case on how to get child support.
- Get a child support order – Individual states will differ on how to do this, and we recommend visiting our child support state resources pages for more information. These guidelines will also be helpful in establishing how much support you will be receiving, the cadence of payments, and other legal rights and rules.
- Find a way to enforce the order – It’s at this point that many parents will run into a road block. Enforcement of payment can be very difficult. There still aren’t many sure-fire ways to enforce child support payments, but many states are coming up with clever and successful ways to get back-pay. Texas for example is withholding car registration for parents who are behind on child support. Others are continuing to find ways to garnish wages. We recommend working with a child support enforcement agency in your state, and you can find a list in our resources section.