Develop a Plan
To make everything as easy as possible and save on attorney costs, you will need to develop a plan. Take some time to think about what you want to accomplish during your child support case. Come up with some goals and objectives. Do you have a goal of gaining custody? Or, are you willing to negotiate mutually beneficial visits for both you and your ex-spouse? Are you comfortable with your ex-spouse gaining total custody? Deciding these factors and putting them in writing can make your attorney meeting more efficient. Also consider items such as what you want your child support to cover. How much can you reasonably afford? Get an idea by using an online calculator.
Develop a List of Questions
Going through child support proceedings is a time-consuming and cumbersome process that requires all types of details to keep both parties satisfied. It is far too easy to forget about important questions once you come in contact with your attorney. To protect yourself, and your assets, develop a list of questions beforehand that you can ask your attorney during your initial meeting. Questions can be items such as what is expected of you? How long will this case take? Will you need to give testimony during court? Also ask how the court what factors come into play when determining child custody.
Bring Your Personal Documents
Personal documents help visualize your relationship for the court. Take some time to write down a relationship timeline that contains important dates such as marriage, first child birth, buying a home, etc. If your case involves any negative behavior, collect evidence to prove your assertion. Proof can be emails, potential witnesses and letters. Make extra copies of any document you bring to your attorney’s office to be safe.
Bring Your Financial Documents
Financial documents play an imperative role in your child support case. Once your San Diego attorney understands your goals, the details of your financial data will be analyzed. Your attorney needs to know where you currently stand in order to arrange an amicable child support agreement for you. Financial data includes assets, liabilities and property. Gathering these documents together beforehand will make your meeting more organized, saving you time and money. Sit down and make a list of all your property, liabilities and assets. Then, find the supporting documentation. Documentation can include tax returns, retirement account statements and balances, mortgage statements, loan agreements and the like. Save yourself even more money on attorney fees by sorting these documents by category prior to your meeting.
Communication is Crucial
It is too easy to believe that something does not apply to your child support case. Instead of believing this, talk candidly about your concerns. Do not hide anything from your attorney. More often than not, the information you believe not to be important is a key factor in determining your child support. Your attorney will appreciate your candor.
Remember that California law requires both parties to take responsibility for child support. Even if you and your spouse decide to reach a child support agreement without having a judge determine the amounts and responsibilities, consulting with an attorney is a good idea. Your attorney will work with you and guide you on improving the agreement for final approval.
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