How Much Does a Child Support Lawyer Cost in Bellevue, Washington?

November 16, 2022

When you get divorced and children are involved in Washington, you must ensure that the children’s financial needs are met. Whether you pay support to your former spouse or receive support from them, you must consult with a qualified child support lawyer to understand your rights and responsibilities. However, when you’re already struggling financially due to a divorce, you may wonder if you can even afford an attorney to help you with child support issues.

What Is Child Support?

Child support is money that one parent pays to another parent to assist with the care of the children. Typically, the parent who has physical custody of the child receives support from the parent who doesn’t have custody. The judge sets the child support amount when you have your child support hearing as a monthly amount. Parents can also agree to the amount of child support when they create their parenting plan.

Child support is designed to cover the basic needs of children. Those needs include child care, health care, insurance, education costs, and extracurricular activities. After receiving a child support order, you can apply to modify it if you have had a change in circumstances.

Who Pays Child Support?

Both parents are required to help support the child. Typically, the parent without physical custody pays a monetary amount to the other parent to pay their portion of the child’s support. Every state has guidelines that set the amount of child support that will be required. The guidelines account for the financial means of both parents and the needs of the child.

Is a Child Support Lawyer Required in Bellevue?

You aren’t required to hire a child support lawyer in Bellevue. However, having a lawyer by your side can help you get the best child support ruling for your family. While hiring a lawyer isn’t cheap, the cost is worth it when your child support order is fair to everyone and you understand how the order was created.

How Do I Benefit from Hiring a Child Support Lawyer in Bellevue, Washington?

With any legal proceeding, the language you encounter in court documents and lawyer’s briefs can seem like a foreign language to those who haven’t studied law. However, if you have the help of a qualified child support lawyer, the legalese can be translated into everyday, common language that we can all understand. Child support lawyers have been trained to understand the documents you will see. They also have extensive knowledge of case law and statutes that may help you get the best child support agreement possible for your children.

Often, child support is decided in a child custody case or a divorce proceeding. Most child support lawyers in Bellevue are skilled in handling those proceedings and your child support case. For a few reasons, using the same lawyer for all family law matters makes sense.

Using the same lawyer can save you money. Rather than paying multiple attorneys to handle different aspects of the case, you will pay one hourly rate for everything to be addressed. Using the same lawyer for all matters also means that the lawyer should be well-versed in the intricacies of your case. You will get specific guidance rather than general information.

Additionally, retaining one lawyer for your family law matters means that one attorney can continue to assist you if changes need to be made. If you have any changes you need to request for either child support or child custody, your lawyer will already have files on your case, and you can count on expert assistance.

What Does a Child Support Lawyer Do in Washington State?

You can certainly attempt to present your case on your own; however,  there are several ways that a child support lawyer can assist you.

  • The lawyer can help you understand what to expect at each step of your case.
  • They will explain the legal issues that you will face.
  • They will evaluate your case’s specifics and advise you on what you should do next.
  • They can help you calculate your anticipated child support payments regardless of whether you will be receiving or paying support.
  • They will represent you in court if your case goes to court.
  • They will negotiate the terms of your child support agreement so that it’s fair to you.

The Cost of a Child Support Lawyer

The cost of hiring a child support lawyer varies. Some lawyers charge a flat fee based on the service you require. Others charge you an hourly rate which means any time they work on your case, they will bill your file.

Some lawyers require you to pay them a retainer fee or deposit before they begin working on your case. This fee helps to ensure that you won’t get one attorney to do the background work on your case and then hire someone else for the proceedings.

The cost you are required to pay depends on the experience of your lawyer and the complexity of your case. In addition to the fees you pay your lawyer, you will also have other costs. The additional fees are those associated with the filing, hearing, and finalization of your case.

Things to Consider When Filing for Child Support

Before you decide to hire a lawyer, there are a few things to consider.

  • Has paternity been established? Regardless of whether you are the one requesting child support or the one paying it, you will often have to prove the biological parentage of the children. However, there are instances where adoptive families split up. Child support guidelines apply in that instance too.
  • Has a custody case been filed already? If a case has been filed, has it been finalized? Your child support attorney can usually help you with child custody cases as well.
  • Do you and your ex-partner agree on how you should handle child support? If you agree, it can decrease your overall costs immediately.
  • Once you get your support order, how will you enforce it? Will your ex-spouse cooperate with the order, or will you be facing appeals and further proceedings?
  • How long will the child support obligation continue? If you are ordered to provide support, you need to know how long it continues. If your ex is ordered to provide support, you will need to know if it’s a temporary order and how long you can count on the money for the care of your child
  • How will a child support order affect your finances now, and how will the order affect your tax return?
  • How much child support was ordered, and are you responsible for paying your ex-spouse, or is your ex responsible for paying you support?

These considerations are things that you should be prepared to answer when you consult an attorney. Providing the information to your lawyer will help them help you with your case. If you don’t have the answers to the questions, your lawyer can help you get them.

Reasons to Hire a Child Support Attorney in Washington State?

You may think that you can go it alone with your child support case, and legally, you can. However, hiring a child support lawyer will save you time and work in the long run. This is especially true if your case is already working its way through the court system.

Here are some reasons to have a child support lawyer helping you.

  • Your case is complex. For example, your ex doesn’t agree with you regarding child support amounts, custody arrangements, or other issues that stem from the divorce.
  • Your child’s other parent has already hired a lawyer. You don’t want to represent yourself if your ex has a lawyer because that will give them an unfair advantage over you.
  • Your lawyer can help you calculate how much child support you should receive (or pay) because they understand the laws and methods of calculation.
  • Your child support lawyer could also help you with your child custody case. Often child support cases are part of child custody cases. The custody of your children directly affects how your children relate to you, so it’s a good idea to have a qualified attorney helping you with the case.
  • If you need to modify your existing child support order, a lawyer can help you file the necessary modification requests. To modify an existing support order, you must show that you have had a substantial change in circumstances. Your lawyer can help you both determine if your change in circumstance would be considered significant, and they can help you prove that it is. They will also know how to present the modification request to the judge to help you get the best results.

Finding the Right Child Support Lawyer For You in Washington

If you find yourself seeking a child support ruling in Bellevue, Washington, you should know that you don’t have to hire an attorney to help you. However, hiring an experienced child support lawyer can help you understand the proceedings better and get the proper amount of support.

If you have questions regarding child support guidelines or how to file for child support or a modification of your existing child support order, please contact the qualified lawyers at the Aberdeen Law Firm with your questions.

Related Content: How Much Does It Cost to File for Child Custody in Washington State?

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