Everyday, Texas parents who have Attorney General (AG) child support cases receive Child Support Review Process Notices inviting them to attend negotiation conferences in child support field offices across the State. These meetings, called CSRP (Child Support Review Process) conferences (or phone conferences), are non-adversarial mediation discussions where parents try to resolve legal issues involving child support. Parents can establish a new child support order or modify an existing child support order. They can find common ground to take care of the support needs of their children without going to court.
Question: When is it wise to bring in an attorney to a CSRP negotiation conference?
The answer to whether a parent should bring a lawyer to a child support meeting depends largely on the type of relationship the parents have. Parents who do not share the same vision on their kids’ welfare, or who have distrust and concerns over the type or amount of support their child should receive, may benefit by having private legal counsel present at a child support meeting. When there is disagreement between parents at a negotiation meeting, parents should remember that Attorney General staff do not represent parents. They cannot pick sides or give legal advice to any parent.
At the beginning of a CSRP meeting, Child Support Officers (CSOs) are required to disclose to each parent their right to have a private attorney present . Parents who believe they will have difficulty dealing with another parent may consider bringing a lawyer to help protect their rights.
Some scenarios where it may be wise to have legal counsel present at a CSRP include:
- A custodial-parent (CP) seeking a modification to increase child support but the non-custodial parent (NCP) is not upfront with his true income.
- An NCP seeking a modification to decrease his monthly payment due to lack of work in his industry but the custodial-parent alleges he is intentionally not working.
- A CP is not allowing or interfering with NCP’s visitation and access with the child.
- A CP seeking back child support claiming NCP never helped provide for their child, but the NCP defends that he did but just cannot prove it through receipts or statements.
- An NCP wants to have regular visits but the CP alleges he’s an unfit parent and should be supervised.
Parents seeking representation at a CSRP negotiation conference should seek a competent attorney for help.
Additional information regarding Child Support and the child support review process in Texas may be found here.