Wouldn’t it be nice if everything in life was clear and uncomplicated? In an ideal world, pursuing or modifying child support would be seamless. It’d be a smooth process with no curveballs. But in reality, it’s not always that simple.
There are many factors that go into the end result of child support, which is making sure children are properly supported financially. Whether you’re pursuing child support from your ex for the first time, or you’re trying to get your current child support amount changed, there are many moving parts.
Are you required by the law to have a lawyer for child support in Ohio? No. You don’t need to hire an attorney to handle your child support case, but it’s definitely smart to have one.
Why You Should Have a Child Support Lawyer
#1: The Other Parent Already Has a Lawyer
If your ex has already found an attorney to help them pursue child support, they’re one step ahead of you. They’ve found someone with knowledge of how the process works, and this person can use that expertise to their advantage. Your best bet is to find an attorney to join forces with you to put you on the same playing field as the other parent.
#2: The Other Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support
There are a few steps you can take if your ex won’t pay child support. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 gives district attorneys the ability to get you court-ordered child support from the parent who doesn’t pay. When you hire a child support lawyer, they can help you request that the court serve your ex with papers dictating that they meet to set up a payment arrangement. The lawyer can also ask the court to hold your ex in contempt, which means if they do not set up a payment arrangement, they can go to jail.
#3: Modifying Child Support is Easier With a Lawyer
A lawyer can help you modify your existing child support by either changing child support by agreement; or asking the court to modify the child support. If you aren’t on civil terms with your ex, the court can intervene to make modifications to the child/spousal support. Work with your attorney to file a motion (written request) with the court. You will need to explain the change of circumstances that created the need for modifications.
#4: You’re In the Middle of Other Legal Matters
As you pursue child support, are you also in the middle of a divorce and child custody battle? That’s a lot for one person to navigate. One of the biggest benefits of having a child custody lawyer by your side is their ability to take the complexity of the case off your shoulders. The lawyer you choose will take the lead on paperwork, deadlines, court dates, and other legal matters so you don’t have to sort through it all alone.
#5: You’re Lost
If you don’t know what to do next, or you’re overwhelmed with trying to figure it out, a lawyer can help. For example, they can help you gather everything you need to prepare at the beginning of your child support journey, since you have to gather a number of important documents. You’ll need:
- Your child’s birth certificate
- Existing custody orders, parenting plans, or child support paperwork
- Information about the child’s safety and welfare
- Information about the other parent’s ability and willingness to parent (which you may have logged in your custody journal)
- Any relevant communications between you and the other parent (which you may have logged in your custody journal)
- Any other court papers, such as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Temporary Order of Protection
#6: Your Child’s Well-Being is at Stake
At the end of the day, the court strives to do what’s best for the children involved in child custody and child support cases. If you’re concerned about your child’s safety or well-being, you’ll want to reach your end goal quickly. Hiring a family law attorney might help speed things along. A family law attorney understands that your child’s well-being is priority number one, and will work to get the best outcome for your child as quickly as possible.
It’s not a requirement to hire a lawyer for child support in Ohio, but it’s a wise decision. The process of pursuing or modifying child support isn’t always clear-cut. Hurdles can pop up, and having a knowledgeable attorney ready to jump over them is one less thing you’ll have to do yourself. Plus, a compassionate family law attorney knows what it takes to get the best outcome for your child.
Columbus Ohio Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer
The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Kline LLC is honored to work with both traditional and non-traditional families to assist them through extraordinarily difficult times. Please contact us with any questions.