Domestic violence, defined as “physical, emotional, sexual, and/or financial abuse from one individual towards another” can have any number of drastic effects on household members. It can affect work performance, relationships with friends, behavior at school, and can even be used as a wedge on which to divide extended families in half.
Even once a victim breaks away from a domestic violence situation, the effects don’t necessarily stop. Case in point, child support.
Making the decision to file for child support
For victims of domestic violence, it may seem like a complete 100% break from the abuser is the best course of action, but if that means being unable to fully provide for a child, or living under constant financial stress, then the decision might have to be rethought.
Before the decision to file for child support is made, there will most likely be a conversation about child support between the victim and the abuser, where they will likely try to convince the victim not to file. They may say things like:
- “I’ll send you checks each month, I promise”
- “Don’t garnish my wages, I’ll make the payments directly” or even
- “If you can’t provide for the child, then I’ll file for custody and take them from you”
In situations like these, you need to be extra careful. The entire reason that there is a legal system related to child support payments and wage garnishment is because assurances from abusers like we listed above very rarely actually amount to anything more than empty promises or threats. In cases where the abuser threatens to file for sole custody, it’s important to remember that while family courts definitely take financial stability into account, they also take any history of domestic violence into consideration as well.
Making the decision to hire an attorney
In domestic violence situations, there is always more going on than simply “you pay me X money per month”. There are relationships at risk, there are potential repercussions from wage garnishment, there are worries of continued violence, etc. An attorney is not only the best-equipped person out there to help you with your child support filing, but they also have connections to support groups and domestic violence shelters, as well as being able to help you with restraining orders if the need arises.
You don’t just need money to provide financially, you also need to be able to guarantee yours and your child’s safety. Getting the strength of the family court system on your side can be an incredibly powerful thing, and a family law attorney has the expertise to make it happen.
If you are having to deal with child support payments (especially if domestic violence is in the equation), get in touch with a skilled attorney today. The sooner you file, the sooner you can get started on the rest of your life.