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Legal Assistance Alternatives

In addition to the county FSD or local child support agency, private attorneys and legal clinics can provide legal assistance in child support cases.

Private attorneys

A private attorney can provide personalized services to parents. They can give as much time to a case as is necessary to do an effective job. The biggest drawback is expense. A private attorney will charge for the time required for personal and telephone interviews, legal research, court appearances, and the preparation of pleadings. The custodial party may request the court to order the non­custodial parent to pay the custodial party`s reasonable attorney fees and court costs. However, it is up to the judge to decide how much, if any, of the legal fees the non­custodial parent may be ordered to pay.

Legal clinics

Services offered by a legal clinic may cost less than those provided by a private attorney. Legal clinics may charge for services based on the actual time spent on a case or on a contingency fee basis.

Family law facilitators` offices

These offices are located in the local court and there is no charge for these services. The core mandated duties of the facilitator include providing educational materials to parents, distributing voluntary declarations of paternity and other court forms, providing assistance in completing forms, preparing support schedules based on statutory guidelines, and providing referrals to the district attorney, family court services, and other community agencies that provide services to families. Local courts may create additional duties for the facilitator. You may contact the facilitator`s office at your local court to find out how the facilitator can help you.

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