Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Child Support?
Research Your County Rules for Filing a Claim
- Call your county courthouse and ask questions. What forms do you need to complete? Can you obtain those forms online? Is there a cost, or a filing fee, to submit these forms? Is there a local child support enforcement agency? The answers to these questions will direct you where to go. If the answers are confusing or you don't understand what you need to do, consulting a lawyer might be the best way to go.
Gathering Documents and Information
- Whether you hire a lawyer or not, you will still need to gather all pertinent information. This includes birth certificate, a child's Social Security number, your income information, divorce decree if applicable and information on the person you are trying to obtain child support from. If you decide to go without a lawyer, create a file containing all this information because you will need it when completing paperwork.
Consider Time and Energy
- Dealing with courts is a lesson in patience. Many counties are understaffed and therefore slow in obtaining hearing dates. Court officials might also continue to contact you if they require more information from you, thus delaying the process. If you are concerned about the time and energy this will take, it might be in your best interest to hire an attorney. While you do not need a lawyer to file for child support, they are often much more experienced in navigating the courts and can get the process done much quicker. Most attorneys offer a free consultation, so with the exception of a half hour of your time, scheduling one will cost you nothing.