Relationship between child support and public assistance

Some Texas couples have a difference in their incomes, and one may need to seek public assistance when they end their relationships. When a person needs to get public assistance and has a child or children, his or her benefits may depend on any child support order that might be in place.

People who apply for public assistance benefits such as housing assistance, TANF, food stamps or Medicaid should expect the state to seek reimbursement from the children's other parent. The state may file for child support against the other parent so that it might be directly reimbursed for the costs associated with providing public assistance benefits.

People who do have child support orders in place will need to bring the orders with them when they apply for benefits. Their public assistance amounts may be reduced by the amounts of child support that they receive. Dependent parents who want to get divorced may need to get a legal separation agreement while their divorces are pending. If this type of agreement contains a child support provision, it will work for offsetting the public assistance benefits. Without an order, the state might consider the parent to still be dependent on the other spouse.

Child support is ordered by courts in the best interests of the child. It is meant to provide children with a similar quality of life as they might have enjoyed if their parents had remained together. When parents end their relationship, both are expected to financially contribute to their children's upbringing. Parents who apply for public assistance benefits may have their benefits offset by child support payments from the other parent, and thus they might want to discuss their situation with an experienced family law attorney.

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