Have you lived with the other parent of your child since the child was born but are now deciding to split up? Do you think the other parent should pay child support? You guys can avoid going through social services and the court system if you can mediate the terms with a family lawyer.
You need to negotiate not only the terms of the child support but also the visitation rights. Here are a few things you will want to talk with your lawyer about.
A Co-Parenting Agreement
A co-parenting agreement is a document whose terms you and the other parent will agree to and sign off on. This agreement will be the legal reference for your custodial and support agreements. The agreement can have the following benefits:
- Each party gets to contribute, and the terms aren't determined by a judge.
- The parents can work out a schedule that works best for them.
- Both parties can avoid court costs and court time.
- You can split the costs for one lawyer instead of paying two separate lawyers.
- You can get the agreement completed quickly.
If the two of you can agree on who is going to be the medical decision maker, who has the child on what holidays, and how you're going to co-parent, the mediation process will be fast.
Fair Child Support
Talk with the lawyer about child support. Find out what the lowest legal amount is in your state, what you think you need from the other parent to fully support the child, and what seems fair based of the other parent's income. The lawyer can help you come up with a number and then discuss this with the other parent so that the terms can be included in the co-parenting agreement.
Your Parental Rights
If you are worried about what your parental rights are in regard to full custody or you expect to have the majority of the custody, talk with your lawyer. Because the two of you weren't married when you had the child, in many states the mother will have primary custody until the custody is changed.
Talking with a lawyer allows you to figure out what type of support you can get to help raise the child, how you can keep the matter out of a court room and settled through discussions with the lawyer, and what right's each parent is going to have to the child. Talk with your ex and see if they are willing to agree to this arrangement.