The U.S. Department of Agriculture has authored a memo meant to create changes to the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. In the memo to state agencies, the USDA encouraged state directors of SNAP programs to institute requirements that any beneficiary cooperates with child support enforcement.
This would require both custodial and non-custodial parents to enter some form of child support agreement as part of the process to receive benefits of the SNAP program. Non-custodial parents are usually required by Missouri courts to pay child support. Many, of course, fail to pay the required monthly payments. Under the suggested changes, if enacted, the non-custodial parent would be required to show compliance with the order or an agreement he or she is following in order to obtain SNAP benefits.
The Possible Benefits
This could help greatly reduce the number of individuals who are behind on their child support payments. If a person wishes to obtain benefits supplied by Missouri taxpayers, he or she must show that the person is helping to take care of his or her children. The aim is to reduce the child support gap between parents by billions of dollars.
One of the reasons children rely on the SNAP program is because one parent does not pay the ordered child support. Under the old/current rules, a parent who refuses to pay child support could still have received SNAP benefits. The new rules would change all of that.
A concern raised by critics of this change is that it may not be in the best interest of the custodial parent to require cooperation in order to grant the non-custodial parent SNAP benefits. This could be true if the relationship between the parents is so poor that interaction could result in abuse or domestic violence.
As a "fix" to this concern, the states would be permitted a "good cause" exemption that allows for state agencies to analyze "circumstances in which cooperation may be against the best interest of the child." This will help to prevent the placement of custodial parents and the children in dangerous situations, while still protecting the rights of the taxpayer to prevent SNAP program abuses.
What You Can Do
Under these new rules, if they are enacted by the Missouri legislature, it could help require the other parent of your children to pay back child support. Negotiating a child support agreement on your own can be a daunting task, as you may not be familiar with every Missouri law concerning these agreements.
An experienced attorney can also help you navigate what may be a very complicated relationship with the other parent. A strong, enforceable agreement will protect both your rights and the rights of your children.
Contact an Experienced Missouri Child Support Attorney
Putting together a child support agreement is beneficial to you and your children, no matter what the legislature does with the suggested changes to the law. Joshua Wilson is an experienced family law and child support attorney who can help you develop the best plan possible for protecting the health and welfare of you and your children.