Many single parents in Alabama apply for government assistance in the form of food stamps. When a mother fills out a food stamp application, she can choose to include her child as a recipient. If she does, the state will automatically open up a child support case if the mother is not already receiving child support payments.
Government agencies can only request child support payments from the absent parent if the identity of that parent is known. Typically, the identity of the absent parent is found by looking at the child’s birth certificate. There will be an opportunity for a presumed father to contest paternity before a child support order is issued.
When a government agency requests child support on behalf of a parent, the child support may not actually be paid to the parent. The child support payments may instead go toward reimbursing the government agency for assistance that was provided to the child. A small portion of the child support payments may go to the parent, but food stamp benefits may be reduced or canceled as a result.
A single parent who qualifies for government assistance and is not receiving child support payments may want to think carefully about whether to include their child on a food stamp application. It is possible for a single parent to request child support payments from an absent parent without a government agency’s help. If a single parent pursues their own child support case independently, they may be able to receive the child support payments in their entirety. A lawyer may be able to help a single parent with this and other child support issues.