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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Child support issues can complicate raising a child

Meeting the financial needs of a child can be difficult for Tennessee families when unemployment and other financial challenges strike. Those financial challenges can worsen when the parents of a child are divorced or separated. Raising a child can force the custodial parent to seek welfare assistance from the state, but a child support order can complicate things.

The sad truth is that an order to pay child support does not ensure that the parent having custody of a child will actually receive the money. The failure to pay child support is a serious problem in the United States with approximately $113 billion owing in delinquent payments. Forcing delinquent parents to pay what they owe could be difficult considering that 76 percent of the money is owed by individuals who fail to earn at least $10,000 a year.

A parent who is raising a child might be denied welfare benefits if there is a child support order in effect. Some states deny benefits to a parent who has a child support order against the noncustodial parent even if the amount of support received is not enough to meet the needs of the child. In such a case, the custodial parent who does not seek child support could actually be better off than a parent who pursues the noncustodial parent.

When a parent does receive welfare assistance, some states attempt to collect delinquent payments from the nonpaying parent. In those situations, federal law allows states to only pass along a limited amount of the money that is collected to the custodial parent. The rest of the money is retained by the state to repay the welfare benefits.

Meeting the financial needs associated with raising a child can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but a divorce and a child support dispute can complicate it even more. Custodial parents with questions and concerns about a failure to pay child support might obtain answers and guidance through a consultation with an attorney.

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