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2024

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2024

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a child support attorney do?

    A child support attorney is a specialized family law attorney who works primarily or solely on child support cases. These attorneys advocate for clients in a variety of situations, including seeking child support from a resistant partner, paying child support, or recalculating child support payment amounts. Often, child support law is an area of practice within a firm that also handles custody and visitation matters.

  • Can I file for child support without an attorney?

    It is possible to file for child support pro se, or on one’s own behalf. This involves obtaining the necessary forms from the local family court and filling out all required paperwork carefully and on time. The court will then set dates for hearings, which usually must be attended in person. Parents filing without a child support attorney should thoroughly research child support and custody laws to put together a compelling and accurate defense. If you already have a court order, you can seek help in enforcing it from the local office of your state child support agency.

  • What is child support used for?

    Child support is used to divide the financial responsibility for raising a child or children between two separated or divorced parents. This court-ordered payment is typically paid from the higher-income noncustodial parent to the lower-income custodial parent. It's intended to cover the costs of basic necessities for a minor and to maintain his or her standard of living. Child support may also be used to split unexpected expenses that occur during a minor's formative years. Definitions of basic necessities may vary by state.

  • When do child support payments start?

    The administrative order from the state agency or court overseeing the legal proceedings will specify the start date of child support payments and may include retroactive payments. Depending on the state and the case specifics, child support may become effective on the date of the separation, at the time of the legal filing, or on the child's birth date.

  • What is child support based on?

    How child support is calculated depends largely on the state of residence and whether custody is joint or sole. Although every case is unique, states may consider the following factors when determining the amount of child support:

    • Number of children involved
    • Allocation of parenting time
    • Total income
    • Spousal support
    • Social Security and other public benefits
    • Expenses for medical and dental insurance coverage
    • Childcare costs
  • What is included in child support?

    Child support funds are intended to pay for a child's essential needs. Child support attorneys may advocate as to what should and shouldn't be included in the order. The court may expressly define the expenses to be paid for to help both parties understand their responsibilities.

    Child support may include the following items and services:

    • Food
    • Shelter costs, including mortgage or rent, utilities, and furnishings
    • Medical expenses, such as medications, eyeglasses, and physician and dental care services
    • Childcare services
    • Educational expenses, including books, school supplies, uniforms, and field trip fees
    • Extracurricular activity costs, such as summer camps, art supplies, or sporting equipment
    • Entertainment costs
    • Transportation and travel expenses
  • How can I check if I owe child support?

    The court order outlines any obligations of child support. Additional questions about payments owed can be routed through the appropriate local child support office. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement maintains a list of state agencies and tribal child support agencies throughout the United States and its territories.

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