If child support is a part of your life — whether you are the one receiving it or the one paying it — you may find comfort in talking about the issue with a child support support group. One of the first details to think about when choosing a support group is whether the other members share your situation, so you may want to consider the group’s intent. You also may want to think about whether you want to meet in-person or use the Internet for support. Additionally, you probably will want to find out whether it costs money to join a particular group and, if so, what the fees fund.
You should first think about the circumstances of the other group members to make sure they will understand your situation. For example, some support groups are geared toward single parents who have never tried to get child support for fear of the associated legal costs. Other groups are geared toward parents who have tried to get child support and failed. Groups may be focused on parents who get child support, but feel they do not get enough money to comfortably raise their child. You also may find that the typical child support support group in your area encompasses all these types of parents, in which case you will fit in no matter your situation.
Another consideration to make is the format of the child support support group that you choose. Many groups meet in person. If you choose to go that route, you should — before joining — find out how often the group meets and whether the usual meeting day and time fits your schedule. If you cannot find a group near you that meets in person or your schedule is too full to attend, then you may want to consider a group that primarily uses the Internet to support its members. Such groups often have a website with a forum or chat feature, allowing members to discuss their problems with each other whenever necessary.
In addition, you should find out if there is a fee required to join the child support support group you are considering. Many groups are free, in part because they are geared toward parents who are owed money and may not have a lot of extra funds; others do have a fee that members pay annually, monthly or per meeting. In some cases, the fee may be reasonable, because the group has to pay for its meeting location or the expertise of a counselor. The money also may go toward occasional group outings or refreshments during meetings. If you can afford the fee, and it appears to be used in a way that benefits the child support support group, you may want to give the group a chance despite its expense.
While many child support support groups are geared toward custodial parents, there are some available to the non-custodial parent. They can offer emotional support when child support payments are financially overwhelming. They also may offer legal advice when the custodial parent isn’t using the payments as intended.