Some single parents in Tennessee may need to seek out public assistance, especially if they are struggling to make ends meet on a monthly basis. After a separation or divorce, the lifestyle of the lower-earning partner can be dramatically impacted. This is especially true if the parents were not married yet one partner was financially dependent on the other. Public assistance programs exist in order to provide a necessary lifeline. However, one of the first inquiries made by a social services offices will be about the child support arrangements.

In some cases, a child support order may be in place, especially following a divorce. However, the non-custodial parent may not be fulfilling their obligations under the order. In other cases, there may not be a child support order in place at all. In either of these scenarios, the government can be expected to take action to pursue child support. If there is no existing child support order, the custodial parent will be encouraged to file for support, and the government may also file to seek reimbursement for public assistance costs.

If there already is a child support order and the non-custodial parent is not paying according to the specified schedule and amount, the government may seek to enforce the child support order through actions such as wage garnishment. There are a number of types of public assistance on which parents may rely, including daycare assistance, food stamps and social housing. Because the cost of these programs is borne by the state, the government will move to implement child support as a matter of public policy.

When parents separate, establishing a child support order can be critical to protecting a child’s future and well-being. A family law attorney can help a single parent file for child support. These payments will generally be ordered based on the parents’ income and state support guidelines.