Child Support Cooperation

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


When you apply for Family Assistance for you and a child, the welfare department will ask you to help them get child support from a parent not living with the child.

What will the welfare department ask me to do?

  • Name the parent
  • Find the parent
  • Get a court order of paternity
  • Get a child support order
  • Enforce the child support order. This can mean going to court for a contempt order.
  • Turn over any child support you get while you are getting Family Assistance

What if I don't want to help the department get child support?

  • If you have a very good reason for not helping, tell the department. Then, you should get full Family Assistance.
  • If you do not have a very good reason for not helping, the department will penalize you.
  • For four months, the department takes away 25% of your Family Assistance grant.
  • After that, you can't get any assistance without cooperating.

What does the department say is good cause?

A serious risk of physical or emotional harm to either your child or you. You can show this by past domestic abuse.


Your child was conceived due to incest or rape. You can use a birth certificate or court records as proof.


Your child is up for adoption. You can use court records or a letter from an adoption agency as proof.

What if I miss a child support court date?

The welfare department will reduce your Family Assistance check, unless you have what it calls "situational good cause."

How can I show situational good cause?

  • If you were ill on the court date, you should try to get a doctor's note. If you had another good reason, try to get the best proof you can of that reason.
  • You should also try to call the District Attorney's office to say you can't make court. Try to have someone listen to your call who can then tell your child support worker you called.

What if the Department of Human Resources still wants to stop the benefits?

  • You have the right ask for a fair hearing.
  • The notice from DHR says how to make this request.
  • A Legal Services advocate can help with a fair hearing.

Reviewed October 2013 offers legal information, not legal advice. This website provides information on your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online HERE.

Last Review and Update: Oct 21, 2013
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