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How do you collect child support?

If you believe you are entitled to child support, there are some steps you need to take to make this happen. Before you do anything, become familiar with the process that your state follows. This will ensure that you take the right steps, at the right time, while also bettering your chance of receiving the money you and your child deserve.

Generally speaking, there are three steps to collect child support:

-- Establish fatherhood. If you were unmarried when your child was born, the first thing you need to do is determine who is the father of the child. While some men will acknowledge they are the father, others will not.

-- Establish a child support order. This comes back to understanding the child support guidelines in your state. These guidelines will point you in the right direction, while also helping you calculate how much one parent should contribute to the other.

-- Enforce the child support order. It is nice when the other party willingly agrees to pay child support, but this does not always happen. If the person is fighting it, the most successful way to collect is to have the funds directly withheld from the person's paycheck.

These are the steps you need to take if you want to collect child support. As simple as they may sound, there are challenges that can arise along the way. You should know what is expected of you, follow the child support guidelines in your state, and then take the appropriate action if the other parent is not willing to pay the court determined amount of support.

Source: Office of Child Support Enforcement, "How to Get Child Support," accessed Jan. 05, 2016

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