As a single Dad, you have full parental fathers’ rights in Washington State. These include the right to take part in the raising of your children, in determining their education, moral upbringing, financial support, and more. Keep one thing in mind, however, this all holds providing that the Washington State courts recognize you as the father of your child, and these rights can only be challenged through a custody case.
As long as that question is settled (and for the case of this information we shall accept that it is), then child support is money paid by the other parent to you for taking care of the child and to assist with support. The court’s paramount concern in setting child support is to make sure that your child has enough money to adequately meet their needs.
Support is meant for clothes and food, to give the children a place to live (rent/mortgage and utilities), and to have decent daycare and medical care.
If you are a single Dad, you still should be able to get child support (and possibly alimony) from the child’s Birth Mother. At times this is easy, but unfortunately, many times not.
I’m sure you understand that your case may differ from many others, and you must consult with a Tri-Cities child support family law firm to have all the information you need.
How Does a Single Father Request Child Support in Washington State?
There are many ways a single Father can request child support in Washington. One way, of course, is for both parents to agree on the terms and then ask a judge to approve a support order in a civil case. However, in many of these cases you, as the Father, can start by working with your family lawyer to complete an application and submitting it to the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Child Support (DCS).
The DCS, and with the help of your lawyer, can do many things for you and your child, such as:
- Get a legal child support order for your child.
- Establish your paternity – if that is in question at all
- Collect current and back child support.
- Enforce your child’s medical support.
- Modify your child’s support order as situations change.
- Even work with other states to collect support on your behalf.
Proper and professional representation throughout this process is vital to its success. Make sure that your Father’s rights family lawyer knows all the details involved so they may present your case properly and get you what your child deserves.
What if I Am Not Able or Having Trouble Getting Support from My Child’s Birth Mother?
One of the main sources of help and support is the Washington State Department of Health. The Office of Healthy Communities works with organizations, public health agencies, universities, other Washington State agencies, and health care providers to provide services to single (unmarried) Dads and their infants, children, adolescents, and others in their families.
These services are far too many to list here but include things such as:
- Children and youth with special health care needs – This program is in the Healthy Starts and Transitions unit in the Office of Family and Community Health Improvement at the Department of Health. The program promotes an integrated system of services for infants, children, and youth up to age 18 years who are at risk of chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and require health and related services of a type or amount beyond what is generally needed.
- Health, safety, and development – This resource offers aid and technical assistance to parents, childcare, foster care, group care, juvenile, and correctional institutions, community action groups, and others on how to prepare and keep children safe, healthy, and engaged in developmentally appropriate learning environments.
- Parents and family’s services and resources – This office will work with organizations, public health agencies, universities, other state agencies, and health care providers who provide services to women, infants, children, adolescents, and their families. They can supply lists of some services and resources that will be very helpful to you and your child.
As always though, dealing with any state agency, no matter how much they want to help, can be extremely daunting. Your Tri-City lawyer versed in the specific rights of the Father will be invaluable in guiding you in obtaining government help you need and deserve.
What If my Partner and I Were Never Married and Will It Hurt Me as a Single Father?
In Washington State, all parenting rights are not only for those who have once been married. Unmarried parents who separate, before or after the birth of a child, have virtually the same legal opportunities and responsibilities around child custody, visitation, and child support that married parents have in cases of divorce. There are generally some similarities to the legal processes that people traditionally associate with the usual divorce proceedings.
Your family law attorneys can inform you of your rights, guide you toward the best legal tools at your disposal, and steer you towards a brighter future with your child.
As a Single Father in Washington State, Looking for Types of Support, Where Do I Start?.
As a single Father, there will be legal challenges you, most likely, will have to face. Additionally, many private groups can assist, such as:
- Female mentors for your daughters or sons.
- Community support groups for single dads.
- Access to and a willingness to use government and social-service programs can help a low-income single parent.
- And many more online resources.
From start to finish though, your family law attorney will guide you through the maze of legalities, and other obstacles you may be facing. Offices such as the Pacific Northwest Family Law group will assist you with whatever type of support you, and your child may need. You are most certainly not alone.