If you and your ex are on "sorta" good terms, you may think you can work it out together, without a child custody attorney involved.
Or perhaps you're wondering why you should hire a child custody lawyer when some family mediators offer their services for free or at a low cost.
Well, here are some things to consider.
Child custody lawyers think down the road, about specific times and situations when you and your ex may not be getting along so great.
Sure, you may be friends now. But you can't guarantee you'll be getting along so great in five years. What if your ex finds someone new who you don't like? Will you truly be OK with your kid missing a holiday with you to spend time with a person you don't like?
What happens if your ex wants to move out of state one day?
Custody lawyers will ensure you're not just thinking about today, but years from now. These are complex legal issues that they'll get in writing now.
Child custody lawyers handle all paperwork and deadlines.
If you are splitting up with someone, chances are you have a lot on your plate already:
- handling your child's emotional response
- separating finances
- handling your own anxiety
While free family mediators often have the best of intentions, they're often too overwhelmed to ensure timely filing.
Lawyers aren't emotional about your past, your future and your finances.
Child custody lawyers care about your situation, but they don't let emotions blind their advice or negotiations.
You may come to an agreement about child support on your own, but a lawyer can let you know if you're really getting the amount you need to survive and thrive.
They can also help you collect money in the event your ex stops paying.
Often, the person paying child support may want to pay the full amount - in theory. But if a person encounters hardships down the road, you need a lawyer to fight for you.
A few years ago, the US Census Bureau found that $37.9 billion dollars of child support was owed to custodial parents in 2011. The average amount owed was $6,050. Of this amount, only 62.3%, or $3,770 was received per year, per child. This mean that custodial parents were receiving on average $311 per month, per child, even though they were actually supposed to receive more.
Don't let this happen to you.
Before you sign a custody agreement, contact us.
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