Parents have rights and responsibilities towards their children regardless of whether they live with them or not. One of these responsibilities is supporting the child financially. Generally, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support to the custodial parent. When hiring a child support lawyer, you need to work with a child support law firm with experience working with both custodial and non-custodial parents.
The issue of child support comes up typically in two instances:
- During divorce proceedings
- When determining paternity. This scenario is further divided into two,
- When the non-custodial parent voluntarily acknowledges paternity
- When the parents file a paternity case, in this case, they need to present evidence to the court proving paternity such as DNA tests.
During the court proceedings, the judge will come up with the amount of child support the non-custodial parent must pay per month. This amount may be a set percentage determined by the state they live in. It hinges on several factors such as the salary amount of said parent and even how many children they are supporting.
You may need a lawyer either during the initial child support negotiations or after. Here are a few reasons you may need a lawyer:
If your partner has a lawyer
If your partner has a lawyer representing them, you too may need a lawyer. Sometimes parents may be able to settle the child support issues out of court, but if your partner wants to settle in court, feel free to have a lawyer represent you.
If there are complications
One instance where a child support case becomes complicated is if the parent expected to pay child support has other children. Some states like Texas have a set percentage that the non-custodial parent is cut from their salary that varies with the number of children. It also has a cap limit for how much can be cut for child support.
Another complication comes when child support has to be enforced. The two main scenarios here are when the parent stops paying child support or when they change employment. Here are a few available options when it comes to enforcement
- The custodial parent may be entitled to past support plus interest
- The custodial parent may be entitled to reimbursement of attorney fees paid during enforcement
- The custodial parent may seek to garnish the wages of the non-custodial parent
If modifications need to be made
The parent’s situations aren’t static, and a court may need to modify the child support order following any relevant changes. These changes include:
- If one of the parents is remarrying
- If the salaries of either of the parents change
- If there are more children in need of child support
- If a parent is moving out of the state or the country
Usually, parents hope that they don’t need to go through court proceedings when negotiating child support. However, if this is inevitable, the best thing is to have the best lawyer by your side.