Being a single parent has its challenges, and if you don't have much support from the other parent involved it can be difficult. Raising children can be expensive, and one of the most important parts of being a parent is providing financial support for your kids. If you are a parent who has primary custody of a child and you aren't getting child support, there are a few ways you can make that happen. While it is possible to get support through the court system without a lawyer, a good family lawyer will ensure you get what's fair according to the law and your specific circumstances. There are three main ways a family law attorney can help you get child support.
A Family Attorney Can Prepare a Demand Letter
Whether you are recently separated from a spouse or you share a child with someone you are not legally married to, financial support is always a responsibility of the parents. If your partner has not begun support and you have primary or sole custody, your lawyer will likely elect to approach the situation by writing a demand letter. A demand letter will outline the legal requirements according to state law requirements. This will be based on how much you make and what the other party makes, and it will be based on the percentage of time each parent has with the kids. Many lawyers will follow up a demand letter with a call to the other party or their lawyer if they are represented to see if they are in agreement and plan on paying. If arrangements and follow through are not made, then the next step will have to be taken.
A Family Lawyer Can Go to Mediation
While child support laws are straight forward, in some cases there many be unique circumstances that may require some negotiation. For example, if the other party has child support that is owed from previous months, there many be an amount that may be negotiated based on other compensated factors. If both parties agree to settle for less or more than that amount, that would likely be agreeable to the court. Usually, mediation is used for both parties to come together to negotiate child support issues that may not be easily resolved between the parties or their lawyers. A mediation agreement would then be drafted and the terms may be put into an order for the court to sign.
A Family Lawyer Can File a Petition with the Court
Issues that can't be resolved in mediation will usually lead to a court proceeding. A lawyer can help you petition the court for child support relief. A court hearing may be called once the other part responds, and then the court will decide the specifics of what is owed for past, current, and future child support. For people going through a divorce, this may be included in the divorce petition. Once an order of the court is issued, the other party must comply with that order or face certain consequences. These may include penalties and jail time for not paying.
While most people may not want to deal with the legal system, having a lawyer help you with the process will make it much easier. It will ensure you are given the amount you need to provide for your kids, and it will make it easier for you to get the money you are due in a consistent manner.