In Florida, many single parents are struggling to make ends meet. This can especially be true after a separation from a partner who once provided the majority of the income for the entire household. Single parents who are lacking sufficient financial support to cover the necessary expenses of life may turn to the state or federal government to seek assistance with medical care, food costs, housing or other matters. When this happens, the government will inquire about whether the single parent is currently receiving child support to help provide for the child’s expenses.
If a child support order exists, but the other parent is not fulfilling his or her responsibilities, the government will likely pursue enforcement against that person. In addition, if no child support order is in place, the government will urge the custodial parent pursue child support or will do so on its own to recoup the expenses it has or will bear in public assistance. In some cases, the child support filing will come directly from the government when seeking reimbursement for costs.
The government plays this role as a matter of public policy, arguing that taxpayers, in general, should not bear the burdens of parents who refuse to support their children. If the parent does not provide for his or her child, the state must fill in the gaps through public programs, including daycare assistance, food stamps, direct financial support and public housing programs. Of course, in some cases, both parents may be meeting their support obligations but still face poverty and require government assistance.
When parents end their relationship with one another, this does not mean an end to their relationship with or obligations to their children. A family law attorney can help single parents pursue a child support order, which usually is issued on the basis of child support guidelines that depend on income.