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What effect does government assistance have on child support?

It’s widely estimated that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Very often, those couples are parents. It is also generally estimated that a quarter of all children are born to single parents.

That being said, it should come as little surprise that control and oversight of the care and well-being of children by way of appropriate child support is something that government takes seriously. Some states are more aggressive than others in the exercise of that control.

In the case of Louisiana, the level of control applied tends to depend on a couple of factors. Understanding what they are and how to pursue terms that meet the best interests of children and parents alike can be complicated, so working with experienced legal counsel is always wise.

Consider the possible effects if a child is currently receiving government assistance of some sort; say through the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Medicaid.

In FITAP cases, the state is going to want to make sure that both parents are held accountable for doing what they can for the welfare of the child, so Child Support Enforcement officials expect full cooperation in clearly identifying both mother and father.

Where Medicaid is concerned, state officials have a stake in setting and enforcing medical support orders, but the parent awarded custody can choose to go without the help. The state could still require general support payment from the non-custodial parent and order one or both of the parents to cover the child’s medical expenses.

If government aid is not a factor, the parents have the opportunity to set their own terms for child support. However, if issues should develop such as a failure to pay or a change in circumstance that makes it impossible to keep up with ordered support, either of the parents can turn to the office of Child Support Enforcement for help.

The key in all such matters is being sure you know your rights and that they are being protected through the legal processes.

Source: Department of Children & Family Services, “Child Support Frequently Asked Questions,” accessed Sept. 21, 2015

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