Child Support Agency: Can They Provide Legal Advice?
Although child support services in California can help enforce a child support order, they cannot provide legal advice, and in most cases, do not have a confidential relationship with either party. California child support agencies are neutral third parties. Their goal is to create a record of all child support payments and provide assistance with understanding the child support system. They do not represent either party in a child support case.
It is important to recognize the difference between an attorney-client relationship and the services a child support agency provides. To start with, only an attorney licensed to practice law can provide legal advice in child support matters. Specifically, it is best to retain an attorney with experience handling California child support cases. A local family law attorney can provide you specific up-to-date legal advice for your case. On the other hand, the child support services staff acts in the public interest and not in the interest of any individual party.
When you retain an attorney, they represent you and your best interests. A family law or divorce lawyer is also your advocate when dealing with the other party, family law courts and a child support agency in any state. They will represent you in court and help you make sure that all court forms are filled out properly, filed and served on the other party. This can make all the difference especially if the other parent is difficult to deal with or evasive.
Keep in mind that any information you provide to the child support agency can be shared with the other party, or others, at their discretion. With few exceptions, any information you share with your child support attorney, whether it be verbal or in writing, will not be shared unless you agree that it can be shared with others.
A Final Note
The California child support agency can be of great assistance to help you enforce an order. But it is key to have a child support order in place that will benefit your children. That usually starts with a consultation with a family law attorney who can guide you on your rights and responsibilities regarding child support. They can also assist you in handling matters with the California child support agency after the family court grants a child support order.