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Child support and Families First -- how are they related?

Divorce is often extremely difficult on children. This is true everywhere in the country, including in Tennessee. When their parents are at odds with each other, the children often feel insecure and unhappy. The children also worry about various aspects of their future in a divorce situation. Hence, in the best interest of the child, Tennessee courts typically ask the non-custodial parent to pay child support. It is mandatory to pay child support in the United States.

However, many parents have questions about child support. A parent may be able to find answers to their questions from various sources. However, a parent may still have some unanswered questions and it may be a good idea to consult an attorney.

For example, does receiving Families First support make a person ineligible to receive child support? Families First is a non-profit organization that provides support for parenting, marriage and other family relationships. The answer is no. When a parent receives Families First, the parent assigns child support payments to Tennessee. That means that after receiving child support from the non-custodial parent, the money will be distributed through the child support department.

Any child support payment that the parent receives directly from the non-custodial parent must be sent to the court or Department of Human Services. The DHS can help in many ways. The DHS can help locate a missing parent. The DHS can also establish legal fatherhood. It always helps to have a legal father because social security benefits may be passed on legally without difficulty. A family's total income may increase upon receiving Families First and child support, often referred to as a "pass through." The DHS may also help to obtain more earnings from child support than Families First benefits will provide.

While the rules are clear, many parents face a number of complications when they try to resolve child support issues alone. Therefore, it may be beneficial for those parents to retain an attorney who is knowledgeable about Tennessee's child support system.

Source: State.TN.us, "Tennessee Child Support Handbook," Accessed on Aug. 12, 2015

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