Many fathers going through a divorce don't ask for child support because they believe they are not entitled. There are many reasons why a dad might think this is true, but it's not the case. The money received from child support is to help you care for your child. Especially if you are a father who has primary custody, don't be afraid to investigate this resource – it's not only your right, it's your children's as well.
Barriers to Fathers Seeking Child Support
People don't often initially think of fathers as the parent who takes care of the children. But moms don't have a monopoly on loving and caring for their kids. Many dedicated and affectionate fathers are equally capable. But societal pressures and misinformation can often leave fathers (who are simultaneously dealing with the emotional consequences of the divorce) ill-prepared for the issues surrounding child support.
As alluded to above, traditionally, mothers are seen as the caretakers, and fathers are the breadwinners. This is an old stereotype that has erroneously kept men from exploring their options. Because the nature of families has changed and is changing, the number of stay-at-home dads is also increasing. If you are at home taking care of your kids, you should not have to struggle while doing so.
There is still also a significant stigma attached to the whole 'stay-at-home dad/receiving child support' issue for men. Society posits that men should be able to take care of themselves (and their children) and not rely on others' assistance (especially from a woman). This is unfortunate, and usually unreasonable as most families are two-income households. Hopefully, this attitude changes because being a responsible man and a good father should be normalized as it is for mothers.
Lack of Understanding
Another reason why dads may not seek child support is a lack of understanding of how the process works. This is plausible due to the factors mentioned above. Fathers may think child support is not something for them (or should not be for them). Since there is no conversation around the issue, many dads suffer in ignorance.
How Child Support Works
First, let's start by saying that if you are a dad who needs help raising your children, you should not hesitate to ask for child support. Below we will explain the basics of how the system works so you can have a better understanding.
Although laws differ from state to state, it is typically the parent who has primary custody that is entitled to child support. Some states also award child support to a parent if the custody is shared, but the other parent earns more money.
Help with the Process
If you need help navigating the child support system, there are a couple of options.
- Child Support Enforcement – Depending on your state, the child support enforcement agency may provide custodial parents assistance in obtaining child support. However, some states will only offer help to individuals receiving financial support from the state.
- Men's Divorce Attorney – An attorney specializing in father's rights can help you get child support.
You probably have many questions about the process of receiving child support. Although this information only covers some fundamentals, below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about child support that may give you further insight.
Q: What information do I need to provide when requesting child support?
A: You will need to provide some information about the mother of the child, including her contact information, last known address, and employment information. You may also need to provide a copy of the child's birth certificate and proof of paternity. Certain financial information may also be required, such as your income and expenses related to caring for the child.
Q: How much support will I receive?
A: There are standard guidelines that states use to calculate child support amounts. State law stipulates that children are entitled to receive financial support from both parents. Once the system determines the total amount of support your child needs, the guidelines will allow them to establish the amount of child support you will receive. There are also online child support calculators that you can use to get an estimate of how much support you might receive.
Q: What is in a child support order?
A: The order contains the amount of support the other parent is required to pay on a weekly or monthly basis. It also may specify whether the support is being garnished from the parent's paycheck.
Q: What if my ex doesn't pay?
A: There are options for enforcing child support payments. Failure to pay may result in the other party being held in contempt of court, suspension of driver's license, forfeiture of tax refunds, reporting to credit agencies, or wage garnishment.
If you are a father, don't dismiss the option of seeking child support. Being able to adequately provide for your children is the goal. To discuss whether seeking child support is right for you, contact Attorney Jana K. Jones to schedule an appointment