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Child Support and Right to Counsel

What to Do if an Attorney is Not Provided in a Contempt Hearing

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Although it is undisputed that parents deserve the right to counsel during a child custody hearing, the question arises as to whether parents should have the right to counsel during a child support hearing. Let's explore some more information about child support and the right to counsel during a child support hearing:

Consequences of Child Support Nonpayment

Generally, parents are not entitled to counsel during a child support hearing as the courts have determined that in order for parents to have a right to counsel, a parent's freedom must be on the line. However, let's discuss the consequences to parents who do not pay child support. A parent held in contempt for child support non-payment may be subject to:

Child Support Attorney Questions

Because an attorney for child support contempt hearings is not a guaranteed right, if a parent decides to obtain an attorney for a child support contempt hearing, he or she should ask the attorney the following questions:

  • What's the possibility of avoiding a prison term?

  • How will the attorney assist with the negotiation or modification of child support?

  • Will the attorney educate the parent about the basics of child support and a parent's obligation?

  • Will the attorney educate the parent about the dangers of non-payment?

  • Is the attorney affordable?

  • What's the attorney's experience with child support cases?

How to Find an Affordable Child Support Attorney

A parent who cannot afford an attorney who specializes in child support matters should seek an affordable attorney by:

  • Asking for Referrals - Ask someone whose had a positive experience with a child support attorney for advice.

  • Requesting Assistance from the State Bar Association - Your state bar association will maintain a list of attorneys, specializing in child support matters.

  • Conducting Internet Research - Research affordable child support attorneys in your state

Courts hold that there is no automatic right to counsel in child support hearings. However, it may still be a good idea for a parent to seek the assistance of counsel. For more information regarding child support, visit the child support guidelines of your state or you may speak with a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction.

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