May 21, 2024

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Child Support Legal Services

Getting Legal Help with Child Support

When one parent or caregiver has custody of a child or children and the other parent is paying monetary compensation to assist in the expenses for the child. This financial assistance is essential for the well being of the child, and if it does not come, it can cause great hardship for the child and caregiver. It is a complicated and lengthy process to recover child support payments that have not been made with several critical steps including legal filings and record keeping. The individual caregiver can recover support on his or her own, but a Family Law attorney will be faster and have a better success rate with their professional child support services.

An experienced family law attorney will interview the client to determine what type of problems they are facing. Based on this, the attorney will know what actions to file in court and can advise the client on what to expect. There are several reasons a parent may stop payments. Inability to pay, as a protest to visitation agreements, lack of accountability for the money and a personal belief that the amount is unfair are a few common reasons given. If the parent who is supposed to pay feels that the amount is unfair or too high, it is his or her responsibility to file a formal claim with the court that awarded the child support.

Support Court Filing Procedures

There is a process to file that begins with
1. A petition to establish the need for financial support
2. An interim motion for support,
3. The summons

A summons is a request for a hearing and a notice of a hearing. The petition will name the parents or guardians, identify the child or children, request to establish paternity and calculate the amount of child support. Two copies of each document will need to be made and the original plus the copies will be submitted to the court. The court will properly endorse all of the documents and give the copies back to the petitioner. It is important for anyone filing for child support to comply with the rules that relate to domestic relation cases in their jurisdiction.

The summons form orders the respondent, the person from whom the financial obligation is required, to file an answer, or respond, within 30 days in most states. The summons contains the rules of procedure and must be submitted along with the petition to the court which will put an official stamp and serve it on the respondent. Interim financial support may be requested at the same time the petition is filed. This is to help with the support of the child during the time the petition and hearing is pending.

The petitioner will also need to submit a request for a hearing and a notice-of-hearing form for interim child support. The request-for-hearing form is a request that the hearing date for interim support be expedited. Many states also require an information sheet that is used in the event that the payments are not made. The information given is about the child or children.

Enforcing Child Support Payments
It is difficult to collect payments if the person who is supposed to pay does not. Filling out and then submitting these forms to the court is complicated and it is considered better in the long run to have a family law attorney. The amount of money in a child support judgment can be several thousands of dollars a year and justifies the cost of a child support attorney because there is a much better chance of getting a favorable result.

There are several ways to recover child support payments.
1. Garnishing the wages for a lump sum payment
2. Wage withholding for monthly payments,
3. Interception of tax returns and
4. Seizure of assets or liens on assets

These are a few methods child legal services use. Garnishing wages is the most common way to collect payments. This means the employer must deduct the amount of child support owed and send it to the child’s caregiver.

Enforcement is another way to get unpaid payments. Interest on the payments owed may also be part of the judgment. This can be taken from income or property of the person in arrears. In this case, it is especially worth the relatively small expense of having a family law attorney.

Seizure of or a levy on assets such as a bank account, mutual fund investment or a valuable automobile is another way to get rightful child support. A family law attorney will know how to execute this in the correct way. Some property is exempt form from a levy, and even if the parent claims an exemption, this process is effective in getting them to make these payments.

How a Child Support Attorney Helps
A family law attorney will also help find a missing parent who owes financial support. There are parent locator services and motor vehicle records where most people can be located, but if these prove useless, the attorney has other means. This will save the added cost of hiring a private investigator which can get expensive.

The federal government is seriously enforcing court ordered financial obligations. The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 makes it a federal crime to willfully withhold monies from a child who lives in another state if the amount not paid is over $5,000 or unpaid for one year. There are also criminal penalties in different states for failure to pay child support. Child Legal Services can help mediate between the parents to solve the problem of non-payment, but if this fails, a legal process is required, and the caregiver can greatly benefit from an attorney.