There are several ways to request Child Support:
- file a Petition to establish child custody, visitation and support if married
- file a Divorce or Legal Separation and then file an Order to Show Cause for temporary child support if married
- file a Department of Child Services support case (however it may take a long time to obtain a support order) whether married or not
- file a Paternity Action and may file an Order to Show Cause for temporary support if not married
- file an Order to Show Cause if there is a need to modify an existing child support order due to a change in circumstances
The amount of the child support payment is based on a number of factors and is determined by a software program called a ‘dissomaster’. Some of the factors are the income of both parents, the number of children, as well as the custody and visitation schedule that is arranged.
Once a child support amount is determined, the parent would pay the amount as per the court order. If the parent works, a wage assignment could be obtained so that support would be paid out of the parent’s paycheck. If the parent has the ability to pay and fails to do so, the parent may file an ‘Order to Show Cause Re Contempt’ to attempt to get the parent to pay.
A client called us because her husband had just left her. She had been married for 15 years and had 2 children under the age of 18 years. After a consultation with the family law lawyer, it was determined that her choices would be:
- file a Petition for temporary orders for custody, visitation and child support for the children
- file for Divorce or Legal Separation and then file an Order to Show Cause for temporary orders
- file for spousal support if she decides to file for Divorce or Legal Separation
Our client decided to file for Divorce and serve her husband with an Order to Show Cause for temporary orders for custody, visitation and support of the children as well as spousal support. We filed for Divorce and served the husband. Once served with Divorce, her husband responded and hired an attorney.
Our client was now in a contested Divorce. We then served her husband with an Order to Show Cause. Her husband responded and refused to agree on the parenting plan as well as the amount of child support. Both parents went to mediation where they again had the opportunity to agree on a parenting schedule. The parents could not agree on visitation, so a hearing ensued in which attorneys for both sides put forth arguments and the judge ruled on all areas, child custody, visitation and support as well as spousal support.
Temporary orders for child custody, visitation and support as well as spousal support were made. We then filed a request for trial setting. Our client appeared at the trial setting conference and once the court determined that the parties were ready to go to trial, a mandatory settlement conference date and trial date was set.
Prior to the mandatory settlement conference a brief was prepared, however the issues were not settled so we then prepared a trial brief which the judge will review prior to trial in order to become familiar with the issues of the case. Our client then requested that our divorce attorney represent her in trial for a low flat fee under ‘limited scope representation’.
It should be noted that the parties could at any time before the trial decide to agree by signing a Stipulated Judgment which would allow them to avoid a court appearance. However, in this case our client’s husband was not cooperative and she was forced to go to trial.
For more information on family law issues and choices, call Legal Action Workshop @ 800-HELP-444 (800-435-7444) or visit www.LegalActionWorkshopLAW.com .