I am a single mom with a 6 year old child. Child's father willfully stopped paying child support (he is high income), which hurt us financially. I left him last year when he relapsed, had lived on our own for most of her life. There is currently a cross petition for custody (retaliatory for leaving him). Due to his preoccupation with alcohol/drugs he does not see her, and was uninvolved anyways. I filed for an upward modification of support before he retaliated and cut off child support. Naturally, I then filed a violation. As a result of non-payment, we were forced to 1) give up apartment/car and stay with friends, 2) apply for public benefits. Things will be back to normal down the road when he pays again. How does applying for food stamps impact my petition for custody/upward modf'n
The court in deciding factors for custody does not focus on any one particular factor. The court looks for the best interest of the child or Children. I would not be so bold via this forum to give my personal opinion on who should and will win custody, only the Judges opinion maters.
That beings said what we lawyers frequently say please avail your self of legal counsel, despite the possible cost to you. The lawyer can take your valuable impute and information and "package it " and reinforce it so the judge has the best information to make his or her decision.
Being on food stamps will have no effect on your petition for upward modification of child support. However, being on Medicaid (I'm assuming you meant Medicaid and not Medicare since Medicare benefits are for people over the age of 65), will most likely have an effect since you will eventually be forced to assign your child support to the county you reside due to the county paying for your child's medical insurance. You need to have the court force the father to immediately place the child on his medical insurance so that you can take your daughter off Medicaid. This way you get to keep the food stamps and his child support. If you have your daughter on public assistance in addition to food stamps and Medicaid, you will also have your rights to child support assigned to the government.
It is possible that the county you reside in will not go after the father and that you will be able to have your daughter stay on Medicaid while still receiving child support. However, if they do file a petition against him, the child support will then be given to the county instead of you.
As far as custody is concerned, most courts believe that child support and custody are two separate things, however failing to pay child support, never looks good to a judge.