If you’ve been discussing the details of child support with your ex-partner, you’re far from alone. Research by the Administration for Children and Families found that child support payments serve over 12.8 million children, or around 1 in 6 children in the U.S. These payments can be crucial for growing kids, ensuring ongoing safety and stability.

That said, arguing about the details can make any divorce fraught with stress. How much should each partner contribute? Do you need a lawyer for child support?

If you’re not sure when it’s time to reach out to a divorce attorney – or how they can help – we’re here to clear the air. Here’s what to know about hiring a family lawyer for your child support case.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Child Support?

In Virginia, there is no legal requirement that you hire a lawyer to help with your child support or child custody agreement. If you’re going through an amicable no-fault divorce and prefer not to have a lawyer handle your case, you can work through the details with your spouse.

However, reaching out to a family lawyer is a good idea in many situations. Sometimes, this is a case of “You don’t know what you don’t know”: if you’ve never had to negotiate the terms of child support before, it can be difficult to understand how to fight for your family’s best interests.

Even small missteps may mean paying more than you deserve or receiving smaller payments than you should. You can always fight for child support modification in the future, but having a legal expert on your side from the start can help you avoid these frustrations.

How Can a Family Lawyer Help?

When you choose to work with a family lawyer, you’ll have access to their wealth of expertise in child custody arrangements. This can help with various child support issues, including the following:

Answers to Legal Questions

For many clients, getting quick and accurate answers to legal questions is the biggest benefit of hiring a family lawyer. With an expert on hand to explain legal issues, you’ll have much more peace of mind. Your lawyer can even explain what to expect at every stage of the legal process, especially if your case goes to court, to remove any guesswork on your behalf.

Legal Advice

Family lawyers with a history of success will understand how to improve your chances of a fair outcome. They’ll advise you on how to present your case, ensure compliance with Virginia child support laws, and convey your priorities to the court.

Accurate Calculation of Child Support

Though you may be able to estimate your payments using an online child support calculator, an attorney can help you get a much more accurate estimate. Using factors like your custody situation, income, expenses, and your child’s needs, they’ll explain what you can expect from a fair outcome.

Legal Representation and Negotiation

With a lawyer in your corner, you’ll never have to worry about representing yourself alone in any court hearings. Your attorney will help protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf.

Assistance With Future Changes

If you and your partner need to modify an existing child support order in the future, or if you struggle to enforce an order, your lawyer is a crucial partner to have. They’ll help you document any changes or problems, argue your case in court, and secure a positive outcome for your family.

When Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney?

Depending on your situation, you may be on the fence about hiring a family lawyer. How can you tell when to get an expert while you file for child support? Here are a few cases where it’s smart to have an attorney on your side:

Your Partner Has a Lawyer

If your partner has hired a lawyer, you’re at an immediate disadvantage. While you struggle to figure out the legal process, your partner will have an expert advising them on the right moves. In some cases, they may even have hired an attorney because they plan to fight for their best interests over yours.

Don’t put your case in jeopardy by going through it alone! Even if you’re late to the game in hiring legal aid, your new attorney can still help you challenge a past child support calculation, appeal to the court for a reduction in payments, and more.

Your Divorce Is Complicated

When the circumstances around your divorce are complex, a lawyer can help. You and your partner may disagree about child support, for example, or your custody arrangement may be unusual.

You may also want legal help when your child has special needs, high medical costs, or education requirements that the court should take into account. Your attorney can argue for a deviation from the standard child support guidelines.

You’re Thinking With Emotion

If you and your partner can’t talk without fighting, give yourself a break from power struggles by getting an attorney to help you negotiate. This is crucial when you’re frustrated and too close to the situation to think without emotion. As a neutral third party, your lawyer can cut through the emotion to help you reach your child support goals with more objective decisions.

You Need Help With Documentation

Whether you’re fighting for fair child support payments or you want to adapt the original child support order, evidence is crucial. Your attorney can help you identify and gather the evidence you need for your case. They’ll also help you present this documentation to the court.

Get Help With Your Child Support Case

Though not every couple chooses to work with a family lawyer, bringing in a legal representative can help you ensure both partners are contributing fairly to child support. Avoid struggling with a frustrating or complex case alone by getting the support you need.

Do you need a lawyer for child support? If so, we hope you’ll trust the expert divorce attorneys at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC. With over three decades of experience helping Northern Virginia clients resolve tough family law issues, we’d be happy to help you fight for a fair child support order.

To learn more, contact us online today.