WHAT QUESTIONS ARE COMMONLY ASKED AT CHILD SUPPORT HEARINGS?
If you’re going through a divorce, you have our sympathies. If you’re going through a divorce and you have children, then we understand that child support and child custody arrangements are among the most anxiety-inducing parts of the whole emotionally draining divorce process.
You will probably have to draft a fairly comprehensive child support plan when ending a marriage that resulted in children. This plan will then be reviewed and hopefully approved by a judge at your child support hearing.
After you check in at the courthouse, you will be directed to the courtroom for your case. If you have any questions to ask at a child support hearing, feel free to ask the receptionist or other courthouse staff, as they are there to help you and other guests. After check-in, there will be a brief interview process asking for some of the basics, including information about your income and visitation plan. This interview should be private, and your ex-spouse will conduct a similar interview separately.
If you and your ex-spouse disagree on the terms of your child support arrangement, then you will both go before the judge in the courtroom, where a number of questions will be asked of you both.
WHAT ARE YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS?
Family law officials will always endeavor to put the needs of children first and foremost above all else. As such, the court’s most important questions to the parents will relate to the child’s care and well-being.
Inquiries along these lines may inquire about the child’s clothing, food, social activities, and education needs. The judge may also ask about any special needs the child might have or if they are receiving regular medical checkups.
ARE THERE ANY FORMAL OR INFORMAL CUSTODY ARRANGEMENTS IN PLACE?
If there are any relevant arrangements in place, either formal or informal in nature, about primary physical custody or visitation rights, the judge will want to know more about them.
WHAT IS THE INCOME FOR BOTH PARENTS?
The judge will want to know the salaries of both parents. They will likely also ask how much you have in savings or checking, your tax returns, and the recent pay stubs of both the custodial parent and noncustodial parent.
The money for child support will, naturally, come from a parent’s salary. When the judge determines a fair child support plan, they will inform some of their decisions based on the amount of money one parent is paying for child support as well as the time allotted to both parents to spend with the child.
WHAT ASSETS DO THE PARENTS POSSESS?
In addition to the finances of both parents, the judge will also inquire about the assets either parent possesses in order to further determine child support.
Do not assume to know whether the assets you own are of interest or not to the courts. Instead, be as forthcoming as possible about the assets you own and their estimated value.
WHAT ARE YOUR MONTHLY EXPENSES?
In addition to wanting to know how much you make, the judge will also want to know how much you spend in any given month.
ARE THE PARENTS COMMITTED TO AN OPEN-LINE OF COMMUNICATION TO ENSURE THE CHILD RECEIVES A GOOD UPBRINGING?
Divorces often happen as a result of some failure of communication. But, as you are committed to raising your child and giving them a happy life, the judge will want to know whether you and the other parent can communicate and be civil with each other for the children involved.
WHAT DOCUMENTATION ARE YOU GOING TO WANT ONHAND AT YOUR FIRST CHILD SUPPORT HEARING?
If you’re prepping for a child support hearing, there are several documents you’re going to need, including:
- Childcare receipts (if applicable).
- Details regarding visitation. If you have a calendar, bring that.
- A detailed document showing your monthly income and expenses.
- Your three most recent paystubs – if you are self-employed, provide your most recent federal tax return instead.
HOW TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION WITH A JUDGE?
Show up on time with all your proper documents in order. Judges hate to be kept waiting. Dress professionally and conduct yourself in a manner befitting the chambers you now share with the judge. Try to maintain a level head if things get heated with your ex.
DO NOT HIDE ASSETS OR ADJUST YOUR INCOME TO YOUR BENEFIT
Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to mislead the judge or anyone else in the courtroom about your income or expenses.
Do not fudge the numbers to stroke your ego even if you worry you ‘look bad’ with a less-than-stellar monthly wage. This will go badly.
WHAT IS THE CHILD SUPPORT ALLOWED TO BE USED FOR?
When it comes to how support is used, there are strict child support guidelines in place. Child support can only be used to the child’s benefit. It is typically spent on food, education, social activities, and medical needs. Neither spouse should use the funds from child support payments for their personal needs and desires.
CONTACT OUR LAW OFFICE TO SCHEDULE A FREE CASE EVALUATION TODAY
Like most aspects of divorce, child support hearings can be overwhelming and highly stressful. But, as long as you come prepared and calm, things can go smoothly. To ensure that you have everything in order, consider retaining the services of an experienced divorce attorney.
The Law Office of Patrick O’Kennedy is experienced in handling several types of cases under family law, including divorce, child custody, and child support. We pride ourselves on going out of our way to provide client-first legal services and would be proud to represent your case.
To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, call us at 714-919-1855.