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Public assistance agencies place priority on child support

A parent in Pennsylvania pursuing a separation or divorce might hit financial hard times. This is especially common when one parent was financially dependent on a spouse. Loss of income due to separation or divorce might prompt someone to apply for public assistance. Government agencies, however, will want details about child support payments before awarding benefits like food, housing, or childcare assistance. If child support payments have not been officially set up through a court, a public assistance agency might seek to collect the support money to offset taxpayer expenses to the dependent child or parent.

An agency will typically look at a child's birth certificate to identify a parent who should be paying child support. If a birth certificate lacks a second name, then an agency might rely on who an applicant says is the other parent. In cases of divorce involving same-sex partners, agencies will look for a legal agreement that establishes both parties as co-parents. Without this documentation, an agency might not impose a child support obligation on a person who does not have a biological connection to the dependent child.

The government places great importance on the legal documentation for a separation or divorce. A person must file a separation agreement with a court before applying for public benefits. Without taking this action, a person will not receive government support. The separation order should contain child support terms to satisfy the government's requirement that both parents contribute as much as possible before the state provides additional assistance.

A parent concerned about income when leaving a spouse might benefit from consulting an attorney about financial issues. An attorney may look at the parents' income and calculate how the law would determine child support amounts. An attorney may opt to file court paperwork necessary for someone to initiate a child support order.

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