HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CHILD SUPPORT HEARING
As you prepare for your child support hearing, here’s a list of things NOT to do:
1. Do not ignore your summons. It seems easier to just let it go, but it is imperative that you act to protect your interests. Aside from your court date, there could be other deadlines that are contained in the summons.
2. Don’t attempt to manipulate the information you’re supplying to the courts. Be truthful on every form you fill out and documentation you provide. Don’t neglect to report under-the-table income or over-report your financial needs in an attempt to control the amount of child support that will be awarded.
3. Do not arrive late to your hearing or fail to show up at all. Do yourself a favor and get there early. Be patient and don’t be surprised if your case doesn’t start on time.
4. Don’t entertain unrealistic expectations. The court will determine child support based on all of the information supplied by using the state’s child support guidelines. If the party has little-to-no actual income, then the amount of child support awarded is going to be minimal. It’s important to be realistic as you look at the facts of your case and prepare yourself for court.
In many courts, parents are seen by a child support officer prior to going before the judge. If parties cannot agree on the terms of the child support order (paternity, child support, medical support, custody, visitation), a hearing before the judge will be necessary.