Child support lawyers are lawyers who specialize in pursuing child maintenance for minor children involved in divorce, guardianship, paternity, or custodial disputes. These attorneys represent and advocate for the best interests of the children involved in the case. They may work in conjunction with child advocacy groups or alone depending on the circumstances of each individual case.
People who hire attorneys who practice in this area of law often do so to pursue not only support or maintenance for their minor children but also to decide custodial rights, visitation rights, or access to the minor children. They may also retain these specialized legal services for advice or guidance on the establishment or supervision of monetary funds and legal filings for children like:
- power of attorney
In many jurisdictions in the U.S., child support lawyers can also be retained to advise or assist with matters of:
These unique legal matters require a different set of criteria to determine whether or not and for how long children may be entitled to child support payments.
Child support lawyers have the option of joining law firms that specialize in divorce or family law, contract law, finance or contract law, or general practice. They also may work independently and not be a part of any established law firm.
Regardless, child support attorneys are expected in all 50 states and U.S. territories to be well-versed in the current child support guidelines and also have legal resources like updated child support calculator or formulaic standards on hand to refer to when advising clients on such cases.
They likewise are expected to coordinate their efforts with outside entities like the local court system or the city, county, or state child support agency so that the minor children involved in the case have access to all of the available social and legal resources within the community. Depending on the guidelines utilized by the local court system, child support lawyers also may be required to stay in communication and coordinate their efforts with the nearest child support enforcement organization, which could be child protective services or the police or sheriff’s department.
Child support lawyers work to advocate for and protect the best legal and physical interests of the children whom they represent. You can proceed with your case more confidently by discovering why you should hire one of these attorneys to represent you and your children before going to court.
Reasons to Retain Child Support Lawyers
Each state has its own laws regarding the establishment, amount, and duration of support payments for minor children. Some states stipulate that non-custodial parents or guardians must pay support until the minor children turn 18 and graduate from high school. Other states require payments to continue for as long as the children are in college or until they turn 21.
If you are not well-versed in your state’s laws, you may not know what the child support office expects of you if you are a non-custodial parent or guardian or if you can collect support if you are the parent retaining custody of the children. Even if you try to read up on the state’s laws, you might not understand the terminology and complicated language used in them.
Rather than represent yourself in the case and risk the financial and legal integrity of the children involved in the dispute, you can protect their interests as well as yours by retaining one of the child support lawyers in your area. Your attorney will know what the states laws are and how to apply them to your individual case.
Further, your attorney can help you settle the dispute in the timeliest manner possible and without incurring legal expenses that you might find difficult to afford. You may be able to avoid a lengthy trial as well as the publicity that could come with such court action.
More importantly, your lawyer will be on hand during and after the case to ensure that the children in question are not exploited, harassed, victimized, or abused by the non-custodial parent or others like extended relatives of either parent. If either parent violates the court’s decision on the case, the attorney can take quick action to bring the violators to justice and also ensure that the children receiving support remain protected at all times.
As much as you might realize the benefits of hiring a lawyer to represent and advocate for your children and their proper support, you may have questions about how to find the best attorney to take your case. You can make the vetting and hiring process of your legal representation easier by knowing what criteria to keep in mind as you interview prospective attorneys in your city or state.
Tips to Find and Retain the Best Attorney
Before you hire one of the child support lawyers in your city or state, you should learn for what qualifications to look when interviewing prospective counsel. First, you should consider those who specialize in this legal area to ensure that you retain one who actually knows the law and has the experience you need to ensure the best outcome of your case.
In fact, you may not want to consider hiring an attorney who is fresh out of law school and has yet to establish himself or herself in the legal profession. Instead, you may want to look for one who has several years’ worth of experience in this legal specialty. A novice may not be able to pursue your case with the vigor and assertiveness that you expect from a skilled lawyer.
Next, you may want to consider those who come with favorable reviews or recommendations from friends, relatives, and coworkers. Chances are that at least one person you know has been involved in a child custody or support case. This person could give you reliable advice on what attorneys to interview and what ones to stay away from in your pursuit of sound legal counsel.
Your research into hiring the best lawyer for your case should also extend to the Internet where you can find dozens if not hundreds of lawyer review websites. The online reviews posted by prior clients can give you insight about the attorneys’ expertise and competence as well as what kinds of outcomes they have achieved for people who have retained their services in the past. Using that information, you can compile a list of the attorneys with the most favorable reviews to consider for your case.
Finally, the state bar can be your most valuable resource to use in your search for a good lawyer to handle your support case. The state bar typically keeps a list of practicing attorneys in each legal specialty. The referral and advice from the state bar should be free if you call or go online to its website.
These tips can help guide you toward one of the best child support lawyers in your area and also secure you the representation and counsel you need to protect the best interests of your children. You should utilize these strategies well ahead of when you actually plan to file your case with the court.
When to Hire an Attorney
You may wonder when exactly you should hire and put one of these attorneys on retainer. It is generally advised that you should retain legal services before you file for divorce or separate from the children’s other parent. By establishing support, visitation, and access to your children, you can make the divorce or separation easier for the entire family and also have the financial means in place to care for them.
If you are not married to or partnered with the other parent, you should hire legal counsel before you have your child or shortly thereafter to establish paternity, support, and visitation. If you are a surrogate or hiring someone to have your child for you, you should retain counsel before signing a surrogacy contract.
Similarly, adoptive parents are encouraged to retain legal counsel before pursuing or finalizing an adoption. Finally, parents of children who are designated to receive inheritances of money, property, or other assets should hire a lawyer to advise on and help establish trusts, annuities, and other funds as appropriate or stipulated in the giver’s will.
Regardless of at what point in your case you decide to retain a lawyer, however, you may be confident in knowing that these legal professionals are always on hand to represent and protect the best interests of your minor children. They ensure that parents abide by the state’s laws when paying support and that non-custodial parents have equal access to the children if the court deems it safe and appropriate. They also help families overcome unique circumstances that may arise with adoption, surrogacy, or guardianship.
Child support lawyers play an important role in their representation and protection of children who otherwise would have no say in the court system. Depending on the circumstances of the case, these lawyers help determine to what amount of support children under the age of 18 are entitled until they reach legal majority. They also assist custodial and non-custodial parents alike in determining factors like guardianship and visitation rights.
Child support lawyers have the option of practicing alone or with law firms that specialize in family or divorce law. When prospective clients come to these lawyers to ask what is child support and other questions, these attorneys are able to advise them using legal resources like the local child support number, calculator, and other guidelines established by the court or child advocacy groups.
Determining how to hire the best attorney can be a challenge for parents who are not well-versed or familiar with these types of cases. They are generally encouraged to rely on the input of friends, family members, and other acquaintances for referral and advice. They also can find reviews of lawyers in their city and state on the Internet.
They can also use the information they obtain through their research to determine at what point in their cases to hire legal counsel to represent them and their children. Depending on the state they live in, they may be advised to retain legal services as early as possible to avoid jeopardizing the outcome of their case.
These lawyers are available to assist in matters other than establishing and determining support payments. They also can help clients with adoption, surrogacy, guardianship, and other unique circumstances that might arise with parenting minor children. They know the laws of the state in which they practice and remain on hand to advise and protect their clients during and after the case has been decided.