Court Overview

Court Overview

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Court Overview
Background


When a couple needs to arrange child support payment, they will almost always find themselves in family court. Even couples who can come to their own agreement on child support issues, should go before the judge to turn their agreement into a court order. If there are any problems down the road, the court order makes it easier to have legal recourse. 
If a couple cannot come to their own child support agreement, they will have to go to a family court so that a judge can decide on the amount of money that each child support payment will be. There are different guidelines that the judges must follow based on various state laws. Each state varies in their rules and regulations regarding child support, and one is responsible to research specific rules for their state.
Legal Representation


Since child support laws vary drastically by state, one may wish to seek legal representation when they are making child support arrangements with their former partner. Legal representation can help one understand the process of figuring out issues regarding child support. There are many times when an individual is not able to afford legal representation. Unlike in a criminal case, a person is not automatically entitled to have an attorney.
Therefore, none will be provided if they cannot afford one. Some lawyers offer a free consultation; this may help an individual. A lawyer that specializes in family issues is very likely to have a full understanding of the state child support laws that will affect one's child support case. Lawyers can be expensive and one should be sure to get an estimate of what having one could cost. If the parents are willing to work with each other, then legal representation will probably be unnecessary. However, going to a family court to get the agreement turned into a court order is always recommended.
Part of a Divorce Settlement


When a couple with children is married and facing a divorce, there are many issues that need to be worked out. Child support is one of them. A divorce settlement is a written document of the basic negotiations of a couple's divorce. The divorce decree may include things like the division of property and if applicable, issues regarding alimony. Any child support agreement is also usually included in a couple's divorce decree, along with issues regarding custody and a visitation schedule. 

The divorce decree will usually state the amount of each child support payment, as well as the dates that they are to be paid. A custodial parent may receive child support payments on a monthly basis or a weekly basis. Other issues should also be worked out in the divorce decree regarding child support. One example is a plan for each parent's contribution to their child's educational expenses.


Filing Motion
Before either parent wishes to settle issues involving child support, they must file a motion through their local family court. Couples in the middle of a divorce may find themselves in need of temporary payments until an agreement can be reached. Filing a child support Pendente lite is one of the steps needed to attain the temporary payments, as well as filing an order to show cause. 

The order is to prove that the temporary payments are different. While filing for these things is only the first step, these motions will lead to a final child support agreement, whether or not the couple was married. The temporary payments may be very different than the final judgement that the family court grants to the custodial parent. The final outcome will be decided at the end of the case. Motions can also be filed to modify child support agreements, depending on one's situation.
Forms
The forms that one must file in family court depend on the state in which on resides. Every issue regarding child support must be looked into, due to the differing state laws. The Application for Child Support Services is one of the first forms needed when an individual is beginning their child support case. While this is somewhat different then the temporary support order that some request, it makes the child support case move along quicker. 

One can file an application for paternity at the same time, if needed. Most of the couples that need to file an acknowledgment for paternity are not married. Any forms that an individual needs can be obtained at their family courthouse. They can also be downloaded off of official family court websites  and these forms must be filled out. They can be mailed in or brought in person, however, since original signatures are often needed, faxes are not usually admissible.

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