Child support is a parent’s legal obligation to pay money for the care of the child; usually it is paid by the parent who does not have physical custody to the parent who has custody.
Every state has guidelines to determine the appropriate amount of child support to be paid - usually considered the minimum owed by the non-custodial parent - but there may be exceptions when those guidelines do not have to be followed.
Child support is determined either by agreement between the parties, court order, or an administrative agency, depending on the laws of the state.
If a parent does not pay ordered child support, his wages can be garnished (withheld) and/or other legal action can be taken under the state’s law.
If you are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or another form of state assistance, check your state law before requesting child support. If you receive TANF you have already assigned your right to receive child support to the State. If you are receiving TANF and you receive child support payments, your TANF could be terminated. Contact a family law attorney with domestic violence expertise to discuss your child support needs.
To learn more about custody/visitation laws in your state, visit WomensLaw.org and scroll down to your state.
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