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Does Having a Child Support Lawyer Help Your Families Case During Divorce?

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If you’re currently going through a divorce, the chances are that you’re uncertain about child support obligation, legal rights as a parent, and visitation. Does having a child support lawyer help your case?

Let’s find out in this article!

What Can a Child Support Lawyer Do?

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A lawyer will negotiate on your behalf regarding all aspects surrounding divorce and child support. Among other roles, here is why hiring a child support attorney is essential.

1. Negotiate child support amounts

If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree, then you’ll both have to go through litigation. This means each of you will either represent themselves or hire a private attorney.

If you have a lawyer, they will serve your ex-partner with the child support orders. The attorney will also represent you in court, making sure you get the best deal out of the settlement.

2. Take you through the child support process with a consultation & advice

The process of divorce and negotiating child support can be overwhelming for most parents. Having a private attorney by your side makes things easier because they will take you through the whole process.

Your attorney will even calculate possible payments and even advise for any modifications. The professional will also peruse the documents and clarify all legal issues that may be confusing for you.

Both parents have equal rights to the children in question. This means that none of the parents should feel oppressed by the visitation rights or support payments. A child support attorney will ensure that you get a fair judgment regarding visitation rights, child support payments, and alimony if applicable.

4. Give resources for child support enforcement

Enforcement follows immediately after the court rules. The child support lawyer ensures that you receive the agreed amount and if you’re the receiving parent at the right time.

If you didn’t go through the litigation process, the attorney also helps enforce the agreement between you and your ex-partner.

5. Handling a complicated case

Most cases are complicated, especially when the parents cannot agree on the best interests of their kids. A lawyer specializing in child support issues is best suited to handle such cases because they have prior knowledge of handling such cases.

infographic child support lawyer help your case

Does Child Support Ever Go Down?

A family law attorney can help you argue for a reduction of payments in court. Upon evaluating your situation, your lawyer will file a petition to the courts requesting modification of payments. Each state follows different child support guidelines when modifying child support payments.

In most states, you’ll need to prove that there’s a significant change that warrants the modification. These changes include loss of income, an illness that affects your ability to work, or a change of living arrangements. Of course, this will benefit the non-custodial parent the most.

Are Child Support Payments Ever Forgiven?

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No, child support cannot be forgiven. A custodial parent cannot waive or drop child support arrears from a paying parent. Such a debt will continue to exist even long after the child has reached adult age. A paying parent’s only solution is to request for child support modification through a family law attorney. Alternatively, such a parent can negotiate a repayment plan.

Modification of child support cannot happen through word of mouth by the parents simply agreeing. Instead, you need the issuance of a court order through your lawyer so that the modification is legally binding for the custodial parent and the paying parent.

Calculation of a child support award uses the income share model that ensures the kids continue receiving the same financial care as they would if the parents didn’t separate. The courts will consider some of these factors when determining how much the paying parent should contribute monthly under the current custody agreement.

  • The custody arrangement of the kids
  • Gross monthly income of each parent
  • Cost of medical care and any medical insurance
  • Cost of daycare for the minors
  • Need for any special education
  • Discrepancy between household resources
  • Commissions and bonuses earned by parents aside from the basic salary and the bottom line of their tax returns

Who Pays Your Family Law Attorneys Fees in Child Custody Cases?

Each spouse pays their legal fees. However, in some situations where one spouse was dependent on the other, like in a stay-at-home parent, the judge may order compensation of legal fees by the other partner which may or may not be the non-custodial parent.

If one partner is caught by the court acting in bad faith, then you’d be required by the court to reimburse the other parent for legal fees. Acting in bad faith implies any action that tries to stop or slow down the court process. For example, one parent may fail to show up in court, hide some assets to reduce custody payments, or even fail to submit the paystubs on time. All of these are great reasons why you would want sound legal advice.

What Should You Not Do During a Custody Battle?

Even if you have a child custody lawyer working with you, there are certain things you need to avoid. Most parents will act differently in a custody battle as a way of trying to win custodial rights.

1. Avoid any verbal exchange with the children or the other parent

Emotions are high during a divorce and child custody settlement. It’s tempting for parents to engage in verbal altercations even in the presence of the children. If your ex-partner happens to record the exchange and present it to the judge, you may lose the case. Judges may also, at times, interview the children separately as they try to determine which parent should have custodial rights. If children mention any verbal exchanges, it may not work in your favor.

During the court battle, you may need to travel for several days in the company of your children. Even if the court hasn’t decided on your case yet, courtesy demands that you inform your partner before the travel date. The other partner has a right to know the children’s whereabouts even if you aren’t together anymore.

3. Don’t deny the other parent visitation rights and be on-time

If the court has given temporary orders regarding visitation, you should ensure to honor them. Allow the children to visit the other parent during scheduled visits. If the other parent reported you for contempt of court orders for visitation, it would go against you during judgment.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Child Support Attorney?

Several factors determine the cost of hiring a child custody attorney. The first consideration is the type of dispute, whether it’s contested or uncontested. Contested disputes take long to resolve, involve more specialists, and can thus be more expensive than uncontested types of disputes.

Some attorneys may also charge you travel costs involved in meeting you or attending court hearings. Ensure that you ask whether your lawyer charges for travel costs.

The costs of hiring the attorney may also increase depending on whether they will charge you for paralegal services. Paralegals assist lawyers with paperwork and research.

Considering all these factors, most family law attorneys charge an hourly rate ranging between $100 – $500. These fees may vary from state to state, your unique case, and the reputation of the lawyer.

The Bottom Line on Child Support Laws

You need a lawyer to help you get the best deal out of the negotiations. The professional has worked with many people going through a divorce with kids. The attorney will walk you through the journey, and they will ensure you understand what to expect at each step of the way. To increase your child support award, you will want an expert in family law on your side.

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