A child support lawyer is normally dedicated to making sure the minor children of people involved in divorce, guardianship or custody negotiations are treated equitably and their best interests are represented. This may entail working with court systems or child advocacy groups to collect child support money. It may also involve negotiating non-monetary terms of the custody arrangements, such as visitation rights and terms.
A lawyer in this specialty may work alone in his private practice or be part of a partnership or group of attorneys involved in various aspects of family law. In addition to negotiating monetary support or custody terms for children, he may also advise on establishing trust funds, annuities and wills that benefit children or set up powers of attorney to facilitate negotiations. He is normally required to validate the terms of wills and provision of estate settlements.
If paternity issues are questioned, a child support lawyer may be involved to determine who has legal responsibility to provide monetary sustenance for the child. He may also be asked to advise on matters involving surrogacy, adoption or emancipation of minors. If the terms of guardianship require alteration, a child support lawyer is regularly consulted.
Depending upon the region or vicinity in which the deliberations occur, a child support lawyer may be permitted to represent both or only one of the involved parties. He may work directly with the principles in the case or deal only with their attorneys. Minor children are not generally present during these proceedings.
A child support lawyer’s responsibilities are similar to those of attorneys who specialize in other areas of legal representation. He is frequently required to prepare pleadings and appear before judges experienced in matters of family law. He may try to privately negotiate with opposing counsel to reach a settlement.
To prevent long and costly court battles, he often attempts to resolve cases through mediation or arbitration. Prior to appearing before a judge or jury, a child support lawyer typically meets with his clients and their families to discuss specific facts of their cases. He may review options several times to make sure they are clearly understood by his clients. Making sure his clients choose the best solutions to their problems is generally very important to a child support lawyer.
If a court determines one of the parties owes child support and the order is not honored, the lawyer for the plaintiff is generally required to make every effort to collect the child support payments for his client. He may take steps to legally attach the party’s wages to fulfill the commitment. Another common option to obtain payment is to file a lien against the person’s property and gain access to their assets through savings or checking accounts.
To become a child support lawyer requires completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree program followed by a minimum of three years in law school. Gaining admittance into law school requires passing an aptitude test. After this phase of education is completed, the bar exam must be passed before a person is recognized as eligible to practice law.