How Do I File for Child Support if I have limited resources?
Child Support Enforcement
One of the most cost-effective ways for a parent to apply for child support is through Child Support Enforcement (CSE). Every state has their own form of Child Support Enforcement and the states can communicate with one another so if the other parent moves then it is easy for the agencies to transfer the case, communicate with each other, garnish wages, etc. Every county will have its’ own county office but you can contact the main CSE office through this online link: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/child-support-enforcement. In Wake County, you will only be charged $25.00 and will be assigned a case manager and an attorney who will handle your case from beginning to end. It is truly a wonderful state benefit for children and their struggling parents.
Do It Yourself Clinics and the Court
You do not have to hire an attorney to file a lawsuit. You are entitled to file a lawsuit on your own and represent yourself. You are still required to know all of the rules and abide by any deadlines or financial disclosure requirements or risk your lawsuit being dismissed. Most courthouses will have “Do It Yourself” forms. If you go to the clerk’s office or the family court office and request a template for child support they may provide one for you. Once you fill out the required documentation, make the correct number of copies, notarize and pay the appropriate court fee your lawsuit for support will begin. Make sure that after you file all of the paperwork that you also calendar a date for hearing. Many litigants representing themselves believe that once they file their motion or complaint that it is automatically calendared by the court. Most of the time this is not the case.
There are also “Do It Yourself Clinics” across North Carolina. A quick Google search may help to reveal where and who they are. Some private attorneys may offer “Do It Yourself” services as well. In legal terms, it is also called ghost writing or unbundled legal services. A Google search for those terms may also help you find what you are looking for. These clinics will be more expensive than CSE or truly doing it yourself but they come with the benefit of attorney direction, who will ensure that you are completing the proper paperwork and will also provide you with advice in the process. These clinics do not require a long term contract and are much more affordable than traditional legal services. My firm currently offers do it yourself services by appointment only and at a reduced rate at www.lesnik-law.com. Carolina Dispute Settlement Services also offers do it yourself services on a sliding scale. They can be found at http://www.notrials.com.
There are many law firms that offer courtesy initial consultations and reduced rates for smaller cases. It may be a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney. There are many legal alternatives to resolving child support other than a lawsuit, such as a support or separation agreement and an attorney can help you choose the best option for you. We offer free initial consultations and are happy to help you or find someone who can.