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New law cuts ties between child support and benefits

In general, any custodial parent in Colorado must go through the child support application and enforcement process if he or she wishes to apply for government assistance or benefits. This means that a single mother trying to get food stamps or child care assistance is forced to name the father and facilitate the state's attempt at putting in a court order for child support and enforcing that order.

While this may seem like a positive, it can cause issues for certain groups. For example, domestic violence victims may not wish to take the chance on bringing the abusers back into their lives. However, House Bill 1227 has changed this. Domestic violence survivors and teenagers will both be exempted from having to go through the child support enforcement program.

The bill being signed into law is noted as in important step in fighting both the high school dropout rate for teen mothers and making it as easy as possible for domestic violence victims to get back on their feet. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 62 percent of teenage mothers do not finish high school, and for many, it is the lack of child care that is one of the main factors.

Child care can be prohibitively expensive, but governments programs that offer child care assistance can make it easier for qualifying single mothers of all kinds to work and provide financially for their families. However, some single parents who are not teenagers or domestic violence victims may have questions about what will happen during the child support enforcement process. A family law attorney can help you prepare and have a better idea of what comes next.

Source: The Denver Post, "New law helps teen moms, domestic violence survivors afford day care," May 20, 2016

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