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Child Support Documents

What is child support?

Child support is the legal term for financial support that a child is legally entitled to from his or her parents. Because a child is legally considered a child from birth until the age of 18, child support may be awarded for children until said child dies, marries, becomes self supporting, or reaches age 18, except that support shall continue until said child reaches age 19 or completes high school, whichever occurs first, so long as said child is in high school full time and are not self supporting. Child support is not dependent on the status of the parents, including whether they are married, legally separated, divorced, or have never been married.

What is a child support order?

An order, in legal terms, is a command given by a judge instructing parties to take some legal action or face penalties. A child support order is the method through which the court sets the legally binding terms of a child support situation. Based upon this order, an enforcement or collection action can be taken against a parent that fails to meet these obligations. Once a child support order has been entered by a court, it becomes an enforceable legal document which:

  • Identifies the parties and their responsibilities, including who pays the support and who receives the support
  • Establishes the dollar amount of child support to be paid, including the frequency of payments
  • Sets the procedure for payment, such as by paycheck deductions or direct payment
  • Authorizes penalties for violation including wage garnishment or the imposition of fines

Though the specific procedures may vary from state to state, a child support order is usually the result of one of three situations:

  • As part of the divorce process - When a divorcing couple has children, a child support order is usually created as part of the divorce process. The family court will decide on child support issues, including the amount the non-custodial parent will be obligated to pay based on state guidelines
  • When an unmarried parent seeks child support - A child support order can be requested by a parent even if there is no marriage relationship to dissolve. In cases like this, the custodial parent can go to family court to request a child support order be placed. Once paternity has been established, either by the father’s admission or a court ordered paternity action, the court will enter a child support order. The court will then determine a dollar amount for child support based on the state's guidelines
  • If state child support agency services are utilized - Every state that provides child support enforcement services to its residents can aid a parent who is seeking enforcement or collection services for unpaid child support. However, this parent cannot receive assistance unless there is a child support order already in place

Though a child support order may seem complicated, the expert document preparers at I & E Solutions fully understand what goes into properly preparing the documents needed for such a situation.

Do I need a lawyer to file for child custody or support?

No, you do not need a lawyer to file for child support or child custody. When a parent chooses to file for child custody on their own it is referred to as “pro se,” or without legal representation. For those who cannot afford an attorney or choose not to, filing for child custody pro se can be a viable alternative.

I & E Solutions offers assistance to people in uncontested legal matters by preparing their documents quickly and correctly. Our team of registered and bonded Legal Document Assistants always prepare documents in accordance with current court and state rules. I & E Solutions also has a range of comprehensive document preparation services that encompass many legal areas including family law, such as divorce and documents for child custody.

What child custody options are available?

There are two types of custody; joint custody and sole custody. Within each type are several versions that may limit or extend a parent’s rights.

Joint custody means that both parents share custody of the child, even if the child only lives with one parent. Within joint custody there are two alternatives:

  • Joint legal custody - This type of joint custody gives both parents equal rights and responsibilities for the child including decisions on education, counseling, religious training, health care, extracurricular activities, and even where the child will live
  • Joint physical custody – This type of custody ensures that both parents maintain frequent and substantial contact with the child. This usually involves the child spending blocks of time with each parent. The parents also share the rights and responsibilities associated with raising the child and have more than visitation privileges

Sole custody is the opposite of joint custody. It means that one parent has full custody of the child and does not share custody with the other parent. Like joint custody, there are two main versions of sole custody:

  • Sole legal custody – This is when only one parent has the right and responsibility to make major decisions concerning the child and does not have to discuss these decisions with the other parent
  • Sole physical custody – This is when only one parent has responsibility for the physical care and supervision of the child. The non-custodial parent may have visitation privileges

It is important to note that a Legal Document Assistant cannot offer you legal advice, as they are not lawyers. Many lawyers offer free consultations, so consider speaking to one if you have legal concerns. However, if you simply need help navigating and filing the paperwork, be sure to turn to the professional document preparers at I & E Solutions today!

How can a legal document preparer help me?

Piles of legal documents can be extremely intimidating. Parents who decide to tackle child custody or child support issues “pro se” are rarely familiar with child support documents. Rather than stressing over them yourself and potentially making costly mistakes, seek the help of the registered and bonded Legal Document Assistants at I & E Solutions.

Those facing legal problems often think they have two choices: to hire an expensive attorney or to try to do it themselves. It is important to know that these are not your only options! I & E Solutions is here to help those who do not need or cannot afford a lawyer when preparing and filing documents. Our comprehensive document preparation services can help prepare your child support documents quickly and efficiently!

 

We are not attorneys. We can only provide self-help services at your direction. Services are provided at customer's request and are not a substitute for advice of a lawyer.
I & E Solutions is owned and operated by a Registered and Bonded Legal Document Assistant.

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