There is no question that a modification of child support hearing can be a stressful event. This is especially true if all the parties involved don’t know what to expect in the courtroom. The last thing you want is for your children to suffer from more fallout from your divorce. However, even though going to court again is no picnic, you have to do what you have to do.
Much like any other court proceeding, both parties have to be present, as well as any legal counsel they have hired. A judge will preside over the hearing and ultimately determine the outcome.
When you understand fully what to expect during this process, you can ensure you’re ready for it. Being ready can help reduce some of the stress and anxiety related to the situation. Here, you can learn more about the process and what to expect once you walk into the courtroom.
The modification of child support hearing begins with filing a form. Either parent can request that the court take another look at child support arrangements. Usually, it’s a life event that prompts this request. Someone got a new job, a raise, or married. Or, someone is facing financial hardships that make taking care of the children difficult. The modification hearing determines whether child support should increase, decrease, or stay the same.
Both parties need to provide official documentation to prove their current financial status. If you’re the parent saying a child support change is appropriate, you will need to prepare a statement to present. You’ll also need to provide paperwork to support your claim. The better you prepare, the easier this part of the hearing will be and the less anxious you will feel. With an attorney’s help, you can be confident that your case is as solid as possible.
Evaluation of the Situation
The court will review all of your financial statements and documents after you present your claim. The judge is trying to determine whether a change is justifiable. The court will want to see all sorts of documents. Gather your tax returns, income statements, any retirement income, proof of expenses, and current pay stubs. The court will want to see them all – and maybe other documents, too.
Change of Custody Impact
The court will also want to see your custody agreement. They are looking for any changes in the amount of time either parent spends caring for the children. For example, let’s say the non-custodial parent now has more custodial time with the children. The more time you have with your children, the more expenses you incur. This change needs to be documented and then submitted to the court for review. This may indicate a change in the financial situation and lead to a reduction in child support due.
The same is true for the custodial parent if he or she provided more care than the original custody agreement prescribed. In that case, the court may decide it’s time for a child support increase.
The goal is to make the amount of time a parent cares for a child equal to the amount of child support received. Sometimes, the amount of time and the amount of support don’t seem equal. That’s when it’s time to seek the court’s intervention. You’ll want to schedule a modification of child support hearing.
The Judge’s Decision
The conclusion of the modification of child support hearing is the judge’s decision. The judge will decide whether a modification of the existing child support order is in order after listening to both parents.
The guidelines for the judge’s decision may vary from state to state. However, the process is the same. The judge reviews all of the information, then makes a decision. A modification request is either approved or denied, and the decision is binding. That’s why it’s smart to have as much evidence and documentation as possible before you go to court.
If you need to modify child support, you should talk to a divorce lawyer first. The better you prepare, the more likely you are to get a fair outcome. It’s easy to see your case from your perspective – but you need to anticipate how the court will see it, too.
Need help with your modification of child support hearing? You don’t have to go through this alone – and you shouldn’t. Get the answers to your questions and the legal support you need during this time. Call (770) 475-2521 to schedule a free consultation with the legal team at Reeder Law Firm today.