The Child Support Contradiction (a.k.a. support your kids)

If your child goes into State’s custody eventually another division of the State (Child Support) will get an order setting child support.  Without being too simplistic, pay it! Perhaps you truly can’t afford to pay all of it but you can afford to pay, at least some, and should do so because 1. it is the right thing & 2 it is helpful to show that you were trying to pay support not WILLFULLY failing to support.

But the problem often arises that it takes Child Support forever to get a child support order and until there is an order there is usually no one to pay to and no amount to pay. So if you CAN”T pay support for over four months can the State terminate your parental rights? They do it all the time. The parent raises the argument that there is no one to pay and the court replies with “every parent is presumed by Statute, to know of their duty to support their kids”. That statement is true but misses the point of the argument, specifically, if you CAN’T do something then your failure to do it is not “willful”.

There are a couple of alternatives that might help a parent support their kid.

  1. bring gifts (diapers formula, clothes etc) to each visit and keep the receipts until there is a child support order then pay per the order.
  2. sometimes you can’t bring gifts so set up a bank account for the kid and make monthly deposits so that when eventually the child support order is entered you can pay down the arrearage (which will be higher the longer it takes to get the order).
  3. Ask the juvenile court to enter a temporary child support order setting child support at a nominal amount so that you can be paying as you go along until a final child support order is entered.

If you sit back and do nothing it will often take child support longer than four months to get a child support order and your parental rights can be terminated if you willfully failed to pay (a.k.a did nothing) for four months or longer.