Can you get child support if the father is financially unstable? 24 Answers as of June 03, 2011

Is there any chance I will need to give my son's father (we were never married) child support even if my son who is 2 year old lives with me? I have a professional degree and he lives off his girlfriend. I keep hearing situations where the mom gives the dad child support even if he is a loser.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Support is paid to the custodial parent (primary custodial parent, if the custody is joint legal custody), so if he is not the custodial parent, he gets no child support. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/2/2011
The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
No. if you are raising the child, then he pays money to you. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 6/2/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
The person who receives the child support is the person who primarily has the child.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/2/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Child support is paid to the party who has primary custody by the party who has visitation or limited access as the case may be. Since your son lives with you, you do not pay child support, you receive child support. If the father is unstable, we base the support on the best information we have to determine what he should or could be making if he were making the effort (talk about incentive) or at the very least, the law assumes anyone can find a minimum wage job. Child Support for one child, assuming he has no duty to support others elsewhere, is $227.83 per month. Before you say you don't want or need it, think of it this way - (credit to Dave Ramsey, though I don't have the actual number in front of me) - if you were to put $200 per month into an account starting at age 18 to age 40 and a twin sibling were to put $300 a month into an account from age 30 to age 60, at age sixty the first sibling would have almost twice as much money for retirement even though he paid in less per month and for fewer months based on compounding of the interest. So, what does that mean for your son, if you are privileged enough to not need the money, get it set up, put it in an account and let it gain interest. You have a college fund for your child that does not have to be in a tax shelter since the taxes are paid by dad before he gives it to you (to invest) so only the interest it taxable - there are ways to defray the taxes on that too via a 529 plan, or similar pre-paid educational benefits. There is, and I will drop a plug here, an excellent college savings plan that is sponsored by the Private Colleges called simply enough the Private College 529 Plan - you can find it by going to the Baylor University website - and while at it, have you considered Baylor for your son's future? It is a really good school. FYI: in the interest of full disclosure, I went to Baylor. To return to your question, NO, you will not have to pay deadbeat idiot child support. He has to pay you. Finally, even if you have college covered, getting the child support ordered, lets it add up with interest and warning to all would be deadbeat, non-child support paying individuals - there is no statute of limitations for retroactive child support. If he does not pay, you have until your son turns 21 to sue for the money, your son has his entire life, no limitations. Scary, isn't it. My favorite example of why this is important - assume sperm donor (may I call him that?) never pays, then one day plays the lottery. Don't you think your child should have a right to an education or something from those winnings? I hope that helps and if you need any assistance with this matter, please give my office a call.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/1/2011
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
Child support is based not only on the respective incomes of the parents, but also on the amount of timeshare each parent has. You said that you are the primary custodial parent. How much timeshare does father have? The less he has, the less need he has for any child support. If you have the majority of timeshare, it's unlikely you may owe any child support. You can go to the free child support calculator and run some numbers yourself. You can find that calculator here: .aspx If you need help with calculating child support, call a local family law lawyer to assist you. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Child support is awarded to the custodial parent to offset the costs of caring for the child. If your ex does not have the child or children there would be no reason for him to be awarded child support. If he makes less than you, and he helped you obtain your professional degree, and you were married for an appreciable time, you could be ordered to pay alimony. Your ex should be required to pay you child support regardless of your income though.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    In California, child support is based upon the relative earnings of the parties, the custodial schedule, and various other relevant factors. It is possible for the mom to be paying support to dad in the scenario you outlined, but there are options to avoid this. If you are in my area, contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Child Support is based on each party's income and the parties' respective timeshares. If your son's father has no income, but has some custodial (or visitation) time, there is a fair chance that he could get an order requiring you to pay child support to him, albeit not likely a significant amount. You could file a Motion to compel your son's father to submit to a Vocational Examination with a Vocational Training Counselor pursuant to Family Code Section 4331in an effort to obtain expert witness evidence to impute income to your son's father, but you would likely have to pay the examiner's fees. You could request that the Court order your son's father to attend designated job training, job placement and vocational rehabilitation and work programs, at regular intervals and times for durations specified by the Court, and that your son's father provide documentation reflecting his participation in those programs, pursunt to Family Code Section 3558. You could request that the Court order your son's father to submit lists of the places where he has applied for employment, pursuant to Family Code Section 4505. If you are aware of your son's father's employment history, you could perform a LeBass and Munsie classified ad search to demonstrate to the Court that opportunities to bargain are available to your son's father, in an effort to get the Court to impute income to the father. In sum, if you do nothing, you are at the greatest risk of a Child Support order, whereas if you are proactive, you might receive an award of Child Support payable by the child's father. You would best be represented by an experienced Family Law Attorney, if you choose to so minimize your risks and maximize your potential gain.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You should retain a family lawyer to discuss all your rights and options. If you maintain custody, I cannot foresee the circumstances in which he could get child support from you. But again, please discuss all the facts with your own attorney! Good luck to you!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Presumptive child support is based on a formula set out in State Statutes. The formula considers the amount of time each parent spends with the child and their respective incomes. If you are the primary custodial parent, payment of child support by you to the other parent is unlikely.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    If you are the primary caretaker you will receive the support not him. The support may be deviated to a low amount, even a zero amount perhaps but you will not pay him, if you are the primary caretaker.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    The Collaborative Law Group
    The Collaborative Law Group | Jac E. Knust
    You are entitled to collect child support from a non custodial parent even if he is financially unstable. The practicality of collecting it may be a challenge. It is highly unlikely you will ever have to pay child support where you are the custodial parent.if you need assistance with pursuing a claim for support please give us a call.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Lyttle Law Firm, PLLC
    Lyttle Law Firm, PLLC | Daniella Lyttle
    It sounds like if the child lives with you and you have primary custody of the child, the child's father is the one that should be paying child support. Even if he is "financially unstable" he can be ordered to pay child support based on minimum wage standards. The child's father can always file a petition in Court and ask for primary custody and child support. But you would have to be notified of that. If you are separated from the child's father and you have no Court order in place, I recommend you file your case in Court and get him to pay at least some child support and establish that you will be the parent with the right to designate the child's primary residence. If you don't have a Court order, it leaves things open to interpretation and even if you called the police because child's father refuses to return the child to you, the police will not do anything unless 1) there's a Court order, or 2) The child is in danger, in which case they'll contact CPS (which you don't want). So if you don't have a Court order, you should get this done ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    If your child lives with you and the father has no income, it is virtually impossible that you would have to pay support to the father. Actual child support obligations depend upon knowing the actual or imputed income for each parent and the amount of time the child resides with each parent, so the child would need to reside with the father a significant amount of time before the possibility of you paying child support could even arise.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    Unfortunately the loser part is correct sometimes, but a good family law attorney can make all the difference.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law I am not aware of a scenario where the primary residential parent would be paying support to the non-primary residential parent. However, judges have a lot of discretion, so I can't say it is impossible. Under Washington support law, the intent is to have both parents share in the cost of raising the child in the child's primary home.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    In Michigan and Ohio under a shared parenting plan, it is possible for either parent to qualify to either pay or receive child support. Please review the issues of this case with a qualified attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Child support is determined in great part by the incomes of the parents and the number of overnights annually spent with the non custodial parent; plus other cost considerations such as health care insurance premiums for the child and work related day care costs. Go to my website and follow the link to the DOJ child support calculator; or go directly to DOJ State of Oregon child support calculator and run the numbers. It will show you if you may have an obligation to pay child support.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    It's technically possible, but extremely unlikely. It's more likely to be an issue where the couple had been married and the "loser" is seeking spousal support or alimony.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    You really should seek a formal custody and support order through the Court. Even if he is a loser, he still needs to pay his fair share. And obtaining custody now, while it's obvious that you've been the primary caretaker, will be much easier than if you wait until the child is older. I've had several cases where the primary caretaker failed to do this, and thus had to either share physical custody with the other parent and/or forfeit child support, among several other problems.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    In Washington State, the primary parent (i.e., the person who has the majority of residential time with the child) typically receives child support.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    Yes, you are going to get something. Check your states child support calculator, and put his income at minimum wage.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/1/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney