Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> appliances babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business weddings
CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Child Support Attorney

Child Support Attorney Cost


How Much Does a Child Support Attorney Cost?

 
average costMedium: Usually Starts Around $2,000-$4,000high costHigh: Can Run $4,000-$25,000 for Complex, Contested Cases
post E-mail post Post  
  Typical costs:
  • A custodial parent seeking court-ordered support payments may not need to hire a private attorney. Each state has its own Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program which provides services locating non-custodial parents; establishing paternity; obtaining court orders for support payments; and collecting support payments. These agencies work together and collaborate with federal authorities. A custodial parent should apply through the local CSE office[1] . Some states charge no application fees; others may charge $1-$25. The National Conference of State Legislators lists whether a specific state recovers costs or charges fees for support recovery services and the federal CSE provides links to state and federal programs[2] .
  • Whether you're the custodial or noncustodial parent, you can choose to hire a private attorney. Typical legal fees start around $2,000-$4000 for representation in a child support case where both sides agree, but can be $4,000-$25,000 or more for a complex, contested case that goes to trial.
  • Because family law cases can be time-consuming and unpredictable, most family law legal fees are based on an hourly rate of $100-$400, although it can go as high as $500/hour. The advance fee known as a retainer is based on an estimated number of hours. As the case is worked, the fees are deducted from the total amount. When the money is gone, you'll be billed for an additional prepayment. The retainer may be nonrefundable, even if it isn't used up by the hourly rates.
  • Attorneys may charge a flat fee for a specific, straightforward process, such as the paperwork needed for an uncontested change -- but usually with a provision that if the situation becomes more complicated, the total cost will go up. FindLaw.com explains the basic types of legal fees[3] .
  • Some private, for-profit agencies offer child support enforcement services in exchange for 25-30 percent of any money that's recovered; they may also charge an application and processing fee for assisting with filing a court order, and charge a monthly deduction from each support payment. However, the agency is not an attorney and cannot provide any legal assistance or advice. The New York Better Business Bureau presents an overview of child support enforcement options, and lists questions to ask[4] before signing with a private child support enforcement service.
Related articles: Child Custody Attorney, Divorce, Prenuptial Agreement

What should be included:
  • Each state has a formula for setting child support payments. FindLaw.com provides an overview of child support basics[5] . The federal Department of Health and Human Services offers a glossary of common child support terms and acronyms[6] and a handbook[7] on child support enforcement, written for parents who are either working through a CSE office or with a private attorney.
Additional costs:
  • Books[8] giving an overview of the child support system cost $14-$100.
  • An initial consultation with an attorney to discuss your case may be free or it could be charged at the attorney's hourly rate; ask before you go.
  • Some lawyers may include filing fees or other court costs ($5-$250 or more) and other expenses (copying, postage, messengers, paralegal time, etc.) in their legal fees but other attorneys charge separately for these. Ask for a written estimate of anticipated "other" costs.
Discounts:
  • Many states have programs granting fee waivers (for filing fees and other court costs) to low-income people. You may also qualify for Legal Aid or other free or low-cost assistance; the American Bar Association links to legal resources[9] in each state.
Shopping for a child support attorney:
  • Ask family and friends for feedback on local family law attorneys. Contact several, and ask about each one's training and experience specifically in family law. Lawyers.com explains what to do in a first meeting with a family law attorney[10] .
  • Search for divorce/child support attorneys at FindLaw.com[11] or Lawyers.com[12] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Be sure you understand what is covered, and any other fees and expenses you might have to pay.
post E-mail post Post  
CostHelper News


10 Key Ways to Prepare for Extreme Snow
Forecasters are predicting a true nor'easter will hit the eastern and central states with rain, thunderstorms, ice, snow and high winds over the Thanksgiving weekend. It's crucial to plan ahead, before bad weather hits. || Posted November 26 2013


10 Most Popular Cosmetic Procedures Before the Holidays
With reunions and other get-togethers scheduled during the holiday season, most people want to look their best at this time of year. For some, that means filling in those wrinkles with a bit of botox, or having a nip and tuck down here and there. || Posted November 23 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments


 

Comment On Your Experience With a Child Support Attorney
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  * total
Law Firm: Amount Per Hour: 
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/state-and-tribal-child-support-agency-contacts
  2.  www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css
  3.  hirealawyer.findlaw.com/attorney-fees-and-agreements/types-of-legal-fees.html
  4.  newyork.bbb.org/WWWRoot/SitePage.aspx?site=24&id=4d2bb72a-5947-4ced-9d6c-26328bd0df19
  5.  family.findlaw.com/child-support/child-support-basics.html
  6.  www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/csspol/IM/2007/im-07-11a.doc
  7.  www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/csspol/IM/2007/im-07-11a.doc
  8.  www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_0?ie=UTF8&rs=53&keywords=child%20support&bbn=10777&rnid=53...
  9.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
  10.  family-law.lawyers.com/Family-Law-Meeting-with-a-Lawyer.html
  11.  lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practice/Child-Support
  12.  www.lawyers.com/child-support/find-law-firms-by-location/
More Personal Finance Topics
Check Out All Costs for Personal Finance How Much Do Tax Returns Cost? How Much Does Closing a Home Cost? How Much Does a Traffic Ticket Attorney Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com




Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
Insulation and labor of sump pump
Paid: 11000.00
My 87 year old mother was just told by Roto Rooter it would cost her 11,000 for a submersible sump pump to be instaled and connected to her city sewer... [more]
-Maryizene
Sump Pump Cost
Disposals
Paid: 265.00
$265.00 is about the going rate for a badger 5 disposal in the Cincinnati area.... [more]
-Mark45236
Garbage Disposal Cost
timing belt, water pump and thermostat
Paid: 800.00
My car over heated and the thermostat needle was fully up. They replaced the water pump, thermostat, timing belt and other old hoses once they were inside the engine...plus an oil change. in my 1998 Pathfinder. All is well after that... [more]
-CBG
Replacing a Timing Belt Cost
Dentures
Paid: 6000.00
This will be my second set of dentures. I've learned there are different types for different budgets. My first pair were premium and lasted over 25 years... [more]
-MaggieMae 368
Dentures Cost
Gift of love
Paid: 300.00
I just made my son's wedding cake. It was 4 tiers, with a rough frosting exterior. The frosting was made with real butter and whipping cream. The cake layers were baked from scratch. It cost $300 for the ingredients and supplies... [more]
-Debobo
Wedding Cake Cost
Home visit, euthanasia & communal cremation
Paid: 300.00
Our experience was very similar to Sharlene's in Anaheim. Our lab (70 lbs.) was almost 15. He was given a sedative (shot) first. We had the convertible couch bed open in the living room... [more]
-Mary K Swift
Pet Euthanasia Cost