If you are raising a child in Pennsylvania, you may have a right to child support, and it's important not only to know about this right, but to know what you must do to make sure you are paid properly. However, in situations in which domestic violence is an issue, certain parts of the process can be rather risky. Take a look at the following to see how these risks may arise.
-- Both parents may be asked to provide some information about themselves and the other parent, and the custodial parent will definitely be asked for information regarding the other (noncustodial) parent. This exchange can put sensitive information in the open.
-- For instance, you are going to get paperwork that will contain the other parent's address, and he or she is also going to get your address in this same paperwork. If you have kept your address a secret to protect yourself, this paperwork could reveal it.
-- When addresses are unknown, parents may be asked to give the court any useful information that could help the authorities find the other parent.
-- If there is any question about who the parents really are, a paternity test may be used.
-- Both you and the other parent may need to go to meetings and court hearings. This means that you will both be in close proximity to one another, which could also be a risk if there is a history of violence.
You do have legal options that can help you get the money you deserve and keep you safe at the same time, and you need to know what they are if you have been victimized by domestic violence in the past.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, "Pennsylvania Child Support Handbook," accessed Sep. 16, 2015