Four Things An Unwed Mother Should Know About Child Support
Child support is an important part of raising a child as a single mother. The money that you receive from the biological father will give your son or daughter a higher standard of living. There are a few things you should know about child support.
A biological father who is married is not exempt
Marriage in no way prevents you from getting child support that you are entitled to. If the father wants to pay you support without a court order because his wife doesn't know about your child and he wants to protect his marriage, you need to see an attorney. Without an order of child support there is no way to make him pay. Even a married man is subject to a court order to pay child support.
You should always get a child support order
Once you obtain a child support order from the court, you will have options available to you in case the father does not pay. One example of this is that you can petition the court for the father's wages to be garnished. This will increase your chances of getting child support even when the father does not want to pay. In addition, you should know that once you have a child support order, the father cannot discharge it through a bankruptcy. Child support is exempt from a bankruptcy filing.
Let the court decide the amount
Don't assume you know what the right amount of money the child support should be. The courts have created formulas to determine the amount of child support that should be paid, so there isn't a lot of room for debate. However, there is a good chance that if you allow the father or yourself to determine the right amount that it will be less than you are entitled to.
Government assistance may require child support
If you believe that you qualify for government assistance, then you should not be discouraged to file for it. There are many programs available to help a single mother. They are usually means tested for income and assets, but they are also predicated on the biological father paying child support, or at least an attempt to get him to pay support. If you know who the biological father is, you will be assisted in establishing paternity and getting court ordered child support.
It is important to consult with an attorney over child support. A unwed mother is likely to receive a lot of misinformation, especially from a biological father who is reluctant to pay to support his child. You may even be told by the father that he wants custody. But don't despair, you will likely retain custody, and a court will often determine custody and child support at the same time.
Visit a local attorney's website for additional reading.