Your Legal Rights at Work

Will You Have To Go To Court Over Child Support?

by Lewis Hamilton

One of the biggest worries people often have when they speak with a child support lawyer is the possibility they'll have to go to court. Whether you're the parent or guardian with primary custody of the child or the one being asked to pay support, the process can seem a little daunting. Here is a look at some of the factors that might affect whether your case will end up before a judge.

How Much of a Dispute Is There?

Two sides can come to an amicable agreement about child support. Notably, there isn't a child support attorney in this country who will tell you to just proceed with an informal agreement. Get everything down in writing, preferably with the benefit of counsel for both sides. This will make it vastly easier to sort things out if there is a dispute down the road.

Are There Questions About Money?

Yes, people try to dodge support. Also, some people become convinced the other parent is trying to dodge child support when they're not.

If there are doubts about whether the obligated parent can or can't pay a certain amount, that makes it much harder to negotiate a solution. It's wise to bargain in good faith and lay everything out straight. If someone is trying to hide income or assets, though, you may end up in court.

Have Financial Circumstances Changed?

Asking a judge for a modification of an existing support order is one of the most common reasons why court cases happen. If you've recently experienced a major drop in income, you might ask for modification. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including illness, firing, or a layoff.

Bear in mind every jurisdiction approaches this issue a little differently. For example, some states only allow modification petitions every couple of years. However, you usually can ask for a modification if you're experiencing extreme financial hardships.

It is also possible to ask for a modification if positive financial changes have occurred. Unsurprisingly, this usually happens when a custodial parent catches wind that the other parent has seen an increase in income.

Questions About Parentage

A stickier issue is whether there might be questions about the parentage of the child. The individual asked to pay raises doubts about whether the kid is theirs. In these scenarios, the parties are almost certainly going to court. The court will enter an order to ascertain the parentage of the child through genetic testing.

Contact a child support attorney like Dawn M Ogrodny PC to learn more.