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What Is Child Support?

What Is Child Support?
It’s not just about money. It’s not about punishing the other parent. It’s about what is best for the child.

While financial support is part of caring for children, there is so much more that goes into raising a healthy, happy child. Read more.

How Do You Get Child Support?
The process of getting child support is a lot easier when you have the right information and step by step instructions.

Step 1:
Establish Paternity
If you were not married to the father when your child was born, this is the first step you need to take.

Step 2:
Get a Child Support Order
You need this support order to determine how much money your child will receive.

Step 3
Collect Support
If you are having trouble getting the money that is due according to the child support order, here’s what you can do.

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My divorce was finalized a year ago, after four long years of battle. My husband left us (I have three children) with a negative bank balance, a house that is literally crumbling at the foundation, it floods every time it rains. He also left us with a mouse infestation problem that he refused to address when he lived with us. One would think that a court would be sympathetic to the children and in this case the mom, too, but that was hardly the case. My kids wanted nothing to do with their dad, but he won not only the visitation he demanded, but various holidays and vacation time. Customary in most cases? Perhaps, but not in OUR case. My children did not want that. My children were not represented. The Public Guardian's office rep was supposed to speak on their behalf, but she didn't even stay for the trial. My children wanted to testify on their own behalf. The Public Guardian said that would not be necessary because she would represent them. She did not. At the time I was still only working part-time, two days a week. I had barely enough for groceries, but I had already been ordered by the court to take over the utility payments. At the final hearing, the judge ordered that I would now take over the mortgage as well. How on earth did they expect me to pay all of that - PLUS all of the expenses for my children (extracurricular activities, school expenses, clothes, groceries, etc). My ex was ordered to pay 'customary' child support for three children, plus 10% of his salary for alimony. However, this amount does not even cover the mortgage. I have increased my hours substantially and I am still not able to afford all of this, and general living expenses. I was supposed to get a monthly amount, but instead, the judge said the payment would come in smaller amounts, every other week, as my ex got paid. The mortgage is due before the second check comes. My salary plus the first check did not equal mortgage. How could they make the person getting the least salary pay for everything? There is nothing left for 'child support.' Not only that, but I found out that my name is not even on the promissory note for the house. I am paying a mortgage for something I may not even own. Yesterday we had our second flood in three weeks. Ankle deep water across the entire basement. This happens several times a year, every year. I complained about this in my case, nothing was done. I complained about the mice, and provided my attorney with photos of the conditions of the house. Nothing was done. My children begged not to have to go with their 'dad'. He used to beat their dog, he mistreated me in front of them, he made us live with mice and other conditions. He was 'mean' in their eyes. Nothing was done. No one cared. I need to know if I have any recourse. I cannot afford an attorney (I still owe my former attorney). The kids and I got screwed here and we want to know what, if anything, we can do about it.