There Are Ways To Cut Legal Fees
by Honorable Anne Kass. Ann Kass is a District Judge in the Second Judicial District State of New Mexico
Divorced parents often spend thousands of dollars to pay lawyers, after their divorce is over, to argue about changes to child support. A few, simple "do's and "don'ts" might help these parents save a great deal of money.
Do voluntarily increase your child support payment whenever your income increases, and do it before anyone hires a lawyer. It may prevent you from ever having to go back to court. Remember you could pay an extra $100 per month for a whole year as child support for what it costs to pay lawyers to handle only one court hearing.
Don't ask for a change of custody after a motion to increase child support has been filed with the court. No one is likely to believe that your primary concern is your children, not money.
Do voluntarily exchange income tax returns and wage information when the other parent or their lawyer asks for them. If you resist, you will end up in court where you will almost certainly be ordered to provide the documents AND pay your ex's lawyer fees.
Don't ever pay nothing, even if you've lost your job. A payment each month, however small, shows you haven't forgotten and that you've got your priorities straight.
Do pay child support before you pay your car payment, and don't have a car payment that is bigger than the child support payment.
Don't pay child support in cash unless you get a written receipt, and do keep all the receipts.
Do put your agreements to change child support in writing, both increases and decreases. Memories fade, and courts run on paper.
Don't cut your child support payment in half when one of two children reaches the age of 18 or by a third when one of three children reaches the age of 18. Child support payments are not divided equally by the number of children they cover.
Don't expect your child support to be lowered when you re-marry and start a second family.
Don't expect your child support to be lowered if you voluntarily make a career change that lowers your income. Child support will be based on your earning capacity, so wait until all your children are over 18 before you become an artist or poet.
Don't rationalize your own failure to pay child support by pointing out the other parent has misbehaved too. Own up to your mistakes. Two wrongs never make a right.
Don't talk to your children about child support problems. Money is a responsibility for grown-ups to handle.