April 2, 2014
Falling in love with your significant other often ends up at the wedding chapel and in the maternity ward. Some live happily ever after and some-well, we know the ending for the rest of us. There are many laws on the books applying to divorce, child custody issues, and other privileges reserved for traditional families. But, often times, people skip the chapel and become parents, therefore, falling under different categories in the parental hierarchy. Those financially stable parents merely demand an amount of financial support and it is paid by the other parent. The most controversial event usually occurs when parents demand increases in money or visitation.
What about the rest of parents that may have fallen on hard times and need to apply for some type of public assistance. It is important to know what the system demands in return for the meager monthly benefit of food stamps, substandard health insurance, and if you are lucky, cash. To be clear, the only way for a parent to qualify for any public assistance where children are involved, is to sign current and future child support rights over to the state. For example, in Ohio, if a pregnant woman or a parent with children needs to apply for the Ohio Works First program, they must sign a self-sufficiency contract. In the contract, there is an explanation for the requirement for the child support enforcement agency, (JFS.Ohio.gov).
Meaning, without signing the contract, which essentially signs over a parents’ rights to child support payment (current and future), a family may not eat. For forfeiting current and future child support payments, the state of Ohio pays a cash grant of $434 for a family of four (Floyd and Schott, 2011). To make matters worse, it is nearly impossible to reclaim your parental rights to child support payments once they are state owned. If, by chance, a parent seeks to retain their child support rights and claim payments, very specific criteria must be met.
Ohio lists the following items as legitimate reasons for termination for child support orders:
- death of a child
- child marries
- child is deported
- child is adopted
- child is emancipated
- child enlists in the military
- change in legal custody
Although the criteria may vary slightly from state to state, the basic laws remain the same and are considered binding contracts. That makes breaking child support orders nearly impossible without good cause to the state. So you see, it is very simple to open a child support case but closing it may be only granted if something drastic happens to the child. Please weigh all option before signing a contract that may last for 18 plus years. It may not be in the best interest of the child or the family when filing for child support. Quite suddenly, money that ideally belongs to the parent suddenly and seemingly forever becomes states property.
Department of Job and Family Services (2011, December). Fact Sheet Ohio Works First. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://jfs.ohio.gov/factsheets/owf.pdf