Single Parenting Advice: A Primer for Solo Moms and Dads
Whether you're newly divorced or dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, our guide to navigating child support, custody, finances and more
File for Child Support
Whether you recently broke up with your partner or got pregnant Knocked Up-style via a one-night-stand, both Mom and Dad have a legal obligation to financially support their child, no matter what the parents' relationship is. This is no time to be proud; you're not asking for a handout, you're asking for financial support that will benefit your child.
"Child support is calculated based upon two main factors: the amount of money each parent earns and the amount of time each parent spends with that child. The court can also order each parent to pay one-half of extras like daycare/school tuition, health insurance and extracurricular activities. The amount of child support and duration of the order is governed by the rules of the state where the child resides," advises, Celeste Liversidge, family law attorney and co-author of Last One Down the Aisle Wins.
There are serious consequences if parents don't pay up. Liversidge explains: "He or she (yes, moms can be ordered to pay if the child lives with dad) can be held in contempt of court, which, in most states can carry a criminal penalty. If a payor owes more than $2,500 in child support, he cannot obtain or renew a passport. Unpaid child support can be reflected negatively on a person's credit report. Additionally, any state or federal tax refunds can be intercepted to pay child support arrearages and unpaid child support cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. In most states, liens can be placed on real property in order to secure outstanding child support."
For more information on child support visit Administration for Children and Families or contact your county's family court.