How to Make the Most Out of Your Child Support Initial Consultation

March 8, 2021
Laura E. McGarry

Child support is an area of the law where the outcome is a moving target. Throughout the course of a child’s minority, the amount of child support at issue can regularly change based on the parents’ financial positions and other circumstances, such as the custody schedule.

We regularly meet not only with clients who are filing for child support for the first time, but also with those who wish to modify the amount of child support they are receiving or paying due to a change of circumstances. In both situations, you will be discussing similar information.

But what information should you prepare prior to meeting with an attorney to make the most out of your child support initial consultation?

How Child Support Talks Work

At Russell, Krafft & Gruber, we use the initial consultation to obtain as much information as possible to allow us to

  • calculate what you can expect to pay or receive in child support and
  • discuss strategies to maximize your position.

We may also talk with you about your child custody arrangement since the custody schedule can impact the amount of support ordered. Whether you are the obligor (the party who has to pay child support) or the obligee (the party who receives child support), the information we need is the same.

What Information to Bring

The following list contains information that you should prepare and bring with you to your initial consultation for child support. This information is the same regardless of whether you are meeting to discuss an initial support filing or a modification.

If you do not have all of it, gather as much as you can and discuss with your attorney how you can go about obtaining the rest.

Here’s what you need:

  • Copies of 3-4 recent pay stubs from each of your employers, or if you do not receive paystubs, other evidence of your income for the past 3 months
  • Written verification of other sources of income (for example, retirement benefits, social security benefits, disability benefits, tips, cash payments, etc.)
  • Your most recent federal and state tax returns
  • Your most recent W-2
  • Federal business tax returns (if applicable)
  • Written verification of daycare expenses
  • Verification of extraordinary expenses for the children (for example, medical expenses beyond those ordinarily incurred for preventative care, tuition, etc.)
  • Verification of health, dental and vision insurance expenses, including a breakdown of cost per individual covered
  • As much information as you have access to regarding the opposing party’s income from all sources
  • A copy of your most recent custody order, or, if there is no custody order, an explanation of your custody schedule.
  • If you are seeking a modification of your Support Order, a copy of your most recent Support Order.

What About Spousal Support?

In many cases, child support is not the only issue being discussed. If you have scheduled the initial consultation to address your separation and/or divorce, your attorney can also discuss spousal support and how that relates to child support.

When you’re ready, contact one of our family law attorneys to walk you through the process.