The various guidelines and laws governing child support can be very complicated, and these will differ depending on the state or jurisdiction. In addition, there may be federal laws which may also apply in lieu of or in addition to state statutes. In order for a parent to navigate these maze-like rules and elaborate procedures, it may be a good idea to avail of the services of an experienced child support attorney.
- Providing zealous representation of the parent’s interests in court
- Entering into negotiations on behalf of the parent
- Filing documents correctly and within the time limits set by the state
- Helping a parent in establishing the child’s paternity
- Making clear the specific terms of a child support order
- Requesting a modification of a child support order
- Collecting and enforcing child support payments
- Calculating the expected amount of child support payments
- Assisting the parent in determining the most efficient payment method
- Protecting the child’s right to entitled benefits and public education
Cost of lawyer
A number of child support attorneys charge a flat fee for rendering simple and straightforward services. This can include services such as filing a request to modify a child support amount. Other lawyers provide their services at an hourly rate. In most cases, child support lawyers can cost parents within a $100 to $500 per hour range. In order to accurately assess the total expenses, a parent should clarify whether court costs and filing fees are included in the fees charged by the lawyer.
Some child support lawyers charge a flat rate for services such as filing a petition for modification or other straightforward matters. Parents should ask whether filing fees and court costs are included in the lawyer’s retainer or hourly rate.
In a child support case that is amiable and uncontested, a parent may incur legal fees from $2000 to $4000. More acrimonious cases often involve greater time and effort from attorneys as well as more time in court, and these will increase the total legal expenses. For these kinds of cases, the costs may reach up to $25000.
Free or low-cost lawyers
Not everyone can afford to pay the steep rates that a good and experienced lawyer often charges, but there is available child support help for fathers who do not have the financial means to afford them. For parents who have very little income, it may be a good idea to approach the contact the American Bar Association and Legal Aid, which may be able to offer legal representation and resources at a low cost, or even at no cost at all. There may also be other organizations with the state which may be able to provide free lawyers for child support, which can be discovered online.
In some states, when a non-custodial parent is being held on contempt charges for failure to comply fully with child support orders, the state may be required to provide a lawyer free of charge just like it has to for every other defendant who is arrested and charged. This is especially applicable for child support offenses that may be punishable by jail time.