Whether you’re filing for divorce, parentage, or any other type of case involving the children, child support is an important step in your legal case. It’s crucial to get it right the first time and to follow the law. This step-by-step guide will help you get started on the process and prepare to file for child support.
Step 1: Getting Started
The first thing you need to do is file paperwork with the court that handles child support cases in your state. You can do this in person or online. If you’re going to do the paperwork online, make sure to follow the e-filing guide so that you don’t end up filing any documents incorrectly or missing any of them.
You’ll also need to serve the other parent with papers to let them know that you’re filing for child support and to get their permission to do so. If you’re serving them by mail, be sure to use the return address on your envelope as a way to find their home address.
Once you’ve completed your paperwork and served the other parent with the papers, you can ask a judge for a decision on how much child support you need to pay. The amount you’re ordered to pay is based on child support guidelines that consider your income and any other expenses that the children have.
Some of these things include food, shelter and medical care. Other things that might be included in a child support order are school supplies, clothing and other personal needs.
If you need help establishing the amount of child support you should be paying, an experienced Dade County family lawyer can help you. They can also help you navigate the process if you have questions about the law or have a difficult time following the rules.
Step 2: Getting the Documents You Need
In some states, you’ll need to fill out a Financial Disclosure Form in order to file for child support. This form gives the judge information about your income, assets, and other financial issues. You can find the form online or at your local county courthouse.
When you fill out the FDF, be sure to attach copies of any tax returns and other forms that show your income. You can also send copies of your tax refunds and any other checks you receive to the other parent.
The other parent will then have to file the FDF with the court. If they don’t, you can ask the court to issue a default judgment that orders them to fill out the FDF and file it with the court.
Step 3: Getting the Support Calculated
Once you’ve filed your papers, you’ll need to estimate how much child support you need to pay using your state’s child support guidelines. These guidelines are based on an income-share formula, which takes into account each parent’s individual income and other expenses.
It is important to note that the amount of child support you’re ordered to pay can change over time depending on your circumstances. If you don’t think the current guidelines are fair, you can ask for a hearing to challenge them.