Cost considerations are an important factor in the selection of any good or service. Making an informed choice necessarily includes an assessment of possible costs. These questions often are raised when considering hiring a lawyer to assist with a child support matter.
Child Support Lawyer from the Child Support Agency
Many folks first experience with a lawyer connected to a child support case is the lawyer who works with and for the county child support agency. You should be aware, that lawyer is not a lawyer representing you. That lawyer may advocate for you to receive child support, but the lawyer does not owe a client duty to you. That lawyer is a representative of the county and its child support agency in its capacity as an advocate for children.
While it may save some legal fees in the short term to handle a matter on your own and let the attorney from the child support agency do all the talking and legal work, it may not be in your interest. You have the right to a lawyer to assist you and be your representative.
Child Support Attorney Fees
Child Support attorney fees can be based on either a per-hour or flat-fee basis. To find out more about child support attorneys and how much they cost, continue reading.
Reasons to Hire a Child Support Attorney
Before we get to how much it may cost, lawyers will often need to understand the type of case and the legal work that may be necessary. There are certain circumstances that we advise you strongly consider hiring an attorney.
- Establishing paternity. If Dad is on the birth certificate, that may just be the first step in the process. A child support hearing may be scheduled, but at that hearing additional important legal issues may be considered by the court. The court will presume you are able to handle these issues regardless of whether you have consulted an attorney. The issues for review may be Child Legal Custody, Child Placement, Child Support, Variable Expenses, Birthing Expenses, and numerous other issues.
- Child Support matters with variable income. Is a parent self employed? Works a few jobs? Changes jobs frequently? These additional areas of complexity require additional legal analysis that may not be completed at your hearing.
- Need to Modify an existing agreement or order. If changes are needed, the court may require a specific legal showing to occur before it even considers the need for a change. In these cases, a lawyer may be able to present law and facts that may meet the court’s expectations and then also necessitate a change in support.
- Collecting outstanding child support. Does a parent owe back support? In those circumstances, a lawyer can assist in understanding how a back amount is calculated and how it may be resolved.
But How Much Does It Cost?
Short answer = it depends. A consultation with a lawyer would get you the best understanding of the potential costs. It may be far more affordable that you think.
The ultimate costs depend on your circumstances, the parents placement arrangements, the other areas of dispute between the parties, and the conflict level. If some of the circumstances described above are present plus a high level of conflict, legal costs can be high. It may be in a parent’s interests to negotiate, but that doesn’t always happen.
At Petit & Dommershausen, SC, we pride ourselves on good legal service and a transparent billing process. Our lawyers will directly outline the nature of our representation agreements and the retention costs. Once we are on board as your lawyers, you will be kept up to date with all financial circumstances and our Office Manager and staff will be happy to respond to additional inquiries.