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For parents who have been the victims of domestic abuse, or whose children have been, it can seem imperative to get as far away as possible from their abuser. But your child still needs financial support and you should not let fear of an abuser prevent you from seeking child support. You can get help to handle this. Domestic violence does not exempt or create support obligations, although it may impact the application and process.
Domestic Violence Victims
Abusive personalities, while sometimes seemingly charming, are manipulative and unreasonable. They do not fight fair, using imbalances of power to push people around. Don't be bullied. Your child is entitled to support and your ex is not entitled to your trust if they are abusive. Let's look at some typical tricks used to shirk support duties and how you can ensure your kid gets support.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, then you can seek a restraining order that keeps the abuser a certain distance from you. A restraining order is only a piece of paper, but it has the force of the law. It creates consequences for the person who violates it, like incarceration and criminal charges.
If you have not yet sought a restraining order and are afraid to seek support because of a bad past with the other parent, get help. You can seek a restraining order if you are still threatened and you can ensure that your request for support reveals no important information to the abuser. A court can also accommodate the needs of an abuse victim by keeping information private, allowing you as the victim of abuse to avoid encounters in court with the other parent.
What to Watch For
An abusive type may say they will pay support as long as you don't talk to the state about it. But do not trust these promises. Why should you wait for the voluntary payments from a person who has proven themselves untrustworthy? Go the official route and you can avoid exposing yourself and your child to danger unnecessarily.
Abuse does not create or destroy child support obligations. A parent may not be fit to raise their kid but can still be expected to contribute to their upbringing. Many county courts have self-help centers or clerks who can provide you with guidance and even suggest resources for free legal help.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you are seeking child support and have any concerns at all, whether or not your ex is accused of abuse, speak to a lawyer. Get help. Many family law attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to talk about your case.