Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports 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 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 Post    
CostHelper News


7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget
End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013


Fix-it Favorites: Duct Tape and WD-40
My mother taught me that all home fixit-projects can be accomplished with either duct tape or WD-40. If something shouldn't move and it does, use duct tape. If something should move and it doesn't, use WD-40. || Posted September 30 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&rn...
  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
Front and rear brake pads and brake fluid exchange
Paid: 499.24
A coupon for Kurt's Automotive came up so I went to his shop to get a second opinion from what the dealership told me for a free brake job inspection... [more]
-Heidi L.
Brakes Cost
Eye exam(pressure, muscle, peripheral), refraction, retinal exam, contact lens evaulation
Paid: 342.00
Using dad's insurance blue cross blue shield and mom's culinary... [more]
-Evelyn
Eye Exam Cost
12 shingles replaced
Paid: 200.00
Replaced 12 Shingles in 4 separate locations on roof. Left remaining 14 shingles w/me for future use. Only 40 minutes actual labor but I think he did a good job... [more]
-W. Hill
Roof Repair Cost
Eye glasses
Paid: 275.00
675 before insurance 275 after... [more]
-Bobby Sammy
Eyeglasses Cost
What we pay
Paid: 2400.00
Quarterly bookkeeping revisions plus 1099 for 3 employees and advising... [more]
-Felipe01
Business Tax Preparation Cost
Brake fluid exchange, front & rear brake pads and resurface rotors
Paid: 634.85
This is the estimate they gave me. Breakdown is brake fluid exchange would be 134.95 (too much it seems). front brake pads and resurface rotors $249.95 and same amount for the rear... [more]
-Heidi L.
Brakes Cost