Do I need a lawyer for a child support agreement?

The law does not require a person to have a lawyer for a child support agreement. Some parents, citing expense, consider going without a lawyer. Other parents believe that a lawyer only serves to escalate the ongoing hostilities that are present in such an emotional decision as divorce, separation and or child support. And some just prefer to handle such personal arrangements as divorce, custody, and support themselves.

Lawyers, however, do a better job of handling these matters. They are familiar with the law and the rules of procedure. They may "know the judge," that is, they are familiar with the judge and his rulings and know the best approach. They are also able to shield their client from his or her own anger in the proceedings. It is a rare person who can keep emotion out of an argument as basic as one concerning their children and as personal as one concerning finances. Judges will see this anger and resentment, which will hinder the case of the person representing him or herself. In this way, lawyers often serve to prevent the escalation of hostilities.

Child support agreements can be quite complex, and a lawyer in these types of cases best serves a parent. A child support agreement can be modified after it is in place, but it is easier to create an agreement than to modify it.

Be aware that the judge will have the last word, even if you do have a child support agreement. It is not uncommon to have the support agreement as part of your settlement or separation agreement. Not all states require a unique agreement just for child support.