Why public assistance hinges on child support orders

If parents in California or anywhere else in the country need public assistance after a divorce, the government may ask if they are receiving child support. This is because the child support payments could alleviate the need for the government to provide benefits. In some cases, government agencies could ask that a parent reimburse them for any benefits paid out. Individuals who want to receive benefits will first need to have a legal separation order in place.

A government agency will not provide benefits while a person is still with his or her spouse. In most cases, the separation agreement will turn into a divorce decree within one year. The separation should contain language stipulating how much child support a person receives. That amount will be deducted from any amount that he or she would be eligible to receive. Public benefits include financial or housing assistance as well as help paying for a child’s daycare needs.

While someone who isn’t the biological parent of a child may be less likely to face a child support order, there are exceptions. For instance, people who are in a same-sex relationship could be required to make payments if they agreed to become a child’s legal parent. As in any other scenario involving a parent seeking government assistance, same-sex parents should seek child support first.

Child and spousal support awards could help parents or others make ends meet after their marriage comes to an end. In many cases, child support payments don’t end until the child is a legal adult, gets married or is emancipated. Individuals who fail to make payments as ordered could face penalties, such as spending time in jail. An attorney may help someone obtain the support to which he or she is owed or make a modification to an existing child support order.

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