Can You and Your Spouse Come to a Child Support Agreement without an Attorney?
Technically, you can get through your entire divorce without hiring an attorney to help you with any of it. You and your spouse can draw up the paperwork, sign it, file it, and be done with it all. But, as millions of couples before you have proven, it’s rare that two people who have reached the point of divorce are in a state to be able to work through things to reach an agreement. At that point, they’re ready to fight each other and take what they can get.
Throw kids into the mix, and it’s a miracle that anyone going through a divorce is ever able to settle things amicably. What happens with the kids intensifies emotions on both sides. You can attempt to negotiate a child custody agreement and a child support order on your own, but the chances are slim that you’ll be able to agree and that your agreement will be equitable. You really should work with an experienced Gilbert divorce attorney to get the right child support order.
Why You Need a Child Support Order
The court does not require you to have a child support order. You may have no order at all – and may be getting no child support at all. You may also have an informal arrangement with your ex in which he or she agrees to pay a certain amount. But what happens if your ex decides not to pay one month? Or decides to stop paying altogether? You have no recourse except to hire a child support lawyer in Arizona and take legal action.
By working with a Gilbert family law attorney and drawing up a formal child support order right at the beginning, you put measures in place to protect you and to ensure that your children have what they need. If your ex defaults, you can report them and have immediate measures taken, including wage garnishment. You will also then have the right to ask for whatever back pay was missed. Without an order, you aren’t entitled to any such back pay. With a formal order on your side, the court is also on your side.
Creating the Child Support Order
Every state has guidelines to determine what child support is required and by which parent. The guidelines take into account things like the number of overnights the child has with each parent, the income of each parent, and the expenses related to child care (such as medical expenses, daycare or school camps, and so on). These guidelines are used to ensure that the appropriate support is determined based on what the child needs and on what is fair to each parents. No one is going to be ordered to pay more than they can afford, and no one is going to be asked to pay less than is needed for the care of the child.
Your Glendale family law attorney will be well aware of these guidelines and will fight to get you the appropriate child support order. If your ex fights it, you may have to go to court to come to a resolution. But with or without a court trial, the order does have to be approved by a judge to be valid (and enforceable). The best-case scenario is that you and your ex come to an amount through mediation and your attorney submits the order on your behalf, without you having to show up in court.
The shorter answer to whether you and your spouse can come to a child support agreement without an attorney is: Yes. The longer – and more appropriate – answer is: You can, but you shouldn’t. Working with a family law attorney in Glendale can ensure that you have a fair order that is enforceable. You can ensure that your family is protected and that you have the means to provide for your children.
Call My AZ Lawyers today if you need a child support order. Our attorneys will work closely with you to understand the ins and outs of your situation to determine an appropriate order. We’ll help you get what you need through mediation or litigation, and we’ll ensure you have an enforceable order for long-standing protection. If you need to collect child support that you are owed, we can help you with that, as well. We can also help you with modifying an existing order. Call us today to schedule a consultation with a child support attorney.
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