I am afraid of the father of my child. Can I get TAFDC without going to court or helping DTA find him?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed February, 2019


There is a rule saying that you have to give the state information about the father of your child and help the state get child support from him if you want to get TAFDC. But this rule does not apply to people who have survived domestic violence.  You do not have to give the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) the name of the father or any information about the father, or work with them to get child support, if you have any one of the following "good cause reasons":

  • There is a chance that the father will seriously harm you or your child, either physically or emotionally. You can prove this with a copy of your 209A protective order, or with a police report, or with medical records, or with a written statement from a social service agency or shelter, or with a written statement from someone else who knows your situation; or
  • Your pregnancy was the result of rape or incest and you can prove this with a birth certificate or medical or police records; or
  • You are planning to give your child up for adoption.

Your DTA worker has to explain to you what “good cause” is.
Tell your worker if you are afraid the father of your child may hurt you or your child, or if you have one of the other reasons for claiming "good cause." Your worker must help you get the proof if you need help.

​Example

If you are afraid that going after child support will mean that the father will threaten or harm you or your children, you do not have to give DTA information about him. Or, you may want the State to help you get child support, but you may be afraid of going to court while the father is there.

If this is the case, tell your worker that you have "good cause for noncooperation with child support enforcement." Your worker should give you a form to fill out.

If you ask for "good cause," your worker will ask you for some proof of the domestic violence. The following documents count as proof for "good cause":

  • a copy of a restraining order, or

  • a medical or police report, or

  • a letter from a social service agency, or

  • a letter from someone else who knows about the domestic violence, like a family member or friend.

If your DTA worker is not helpful, ask to speak with a DTA Domestic Violence Specialist. Domestic Violence Specialists are trained workers who should understand your safety concerns.

If DTA agrees that you have "good cause," DTA will do one of two things.

  • DTA may decide not to let the Department of Revenue go after child support or
  • DTA may decide that DOR can go after child support but you will not have to go to court or help.

Find out what DTA decides. If you are unhappy with the decision, you have the right to appeal. Call your local legal services program or battered women’s program for help.

Who to call for help

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