Child support is an essential aspect of a child’s life, and parents should be aware of questions asked in a child support hearing. The judge will be deciding what is best for the child and fair for both parents based on what they answer. In other words, the judge will gather details about the child’s needs, each parent’s ability to provide support, and whether parents have special needs themselves.
Each state follows different guidelines when it comes to arranging child support. However, they all have one goal: a fair and equitable arrangement. This article will discuss the most important questions you will encounter during a hearing to help you prepare for child support court.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Before we delve into child support legal questions, let’s look into what child support covers precisely. As its name indicates, child support is intended to “support” a child in his daily life and protect his expenses: clothing, food, shelter, medical expenses, education, and others. Note that child support does not cover luxurious items or the costs of the custodial parent.
A child support arrangement is a legal procedure that requires the approval of the court. Once approved, the arrangement is converted into an official order.
What Questions Are Asked in a Child Support Hearing?
During a child custody battle, the court will ask both parents to answer several questions to decide what will work best for the child or children involved. The judge’s primary concern is the child and what will be best for him.
Here are some questions to expect:
– Child’s Needs
Questions related to a child’s needs are mandatory, and you must give accurate data and information to the court.
The parents should prepare for the hearing with exact and verifiable answers to the following questions:
- How old is your child/children?
- How much do you spend on child’s clothing, food, and education?
- How much do you spend on a babysitter or a nanny (if applicable)?
- How much do you usually spend on doctor’s visits (i.e., dentist, optician, etc.)?
- Does the child have any special needs? If so, what are they, and how it affects your expenses?
– Income and Assets
The judge will ask both parents about their assets and salaries. Thus, the money for child support will come from these sources, so do not try to lie or provide false information as it will turn against you. Giving incorrect answers to the and lying will damage your credibility during future hearings, and you might face severe penalties.
- What is your weekly income?
- How much money do you hold in your bank account?
- Do you own any assets? If so, what kind are these assets? What is their value?
Keep in mind that the amount of child support is calculated based on the parent’s potential earning and not on the actual income. In other words, the judge might determine that the parent is voluntarily working at a lower income job when the same job is available for a significantly higher income. Thus, the court will consider hardships as a result of the child support amount as voluntary.
There are exceptions, and a skilled child support lawyer may argue that the higher-income job poses health risks on the parent and will affect their ability to pay child support in the future.
– Parents’ Expenses
The judge will ask about the parents’ expenses and will expect proven information. During a child support hearing, you will need to answer questions about more serious payments (i.e., medical emergencies, extra responsibilities, caring for your other children from another person, etc.).
Based on the answers you provide and your state’s guidelines, the judge, will develop a fair and suitable solution for the child and his parents.
Most judges prefer to grant custody for both spouses since they consider that the child should spend equal time with his parents. To do that, the judge will ask about the level of communication between the husband and his wife.
It is essential to find a way to communicate with your ex-spouse about decisions that might affect your child’s everyday life (especially in a joint custody arrangement). The court will help ensure that both parties play an active role in raising and caring for their children.
– Existing Arrangements
The court does not interfere with an existing custody arrangement if everything is working just fine. Therefore, a judge will ask you about your current formal or informal custody arrangements. Ensure all relevant information and clearly explain what parts of the arrangement are not working (if applicable).
If you haven’t made any arrangements previously, the judge will ask you about the type of custody arrangement you seek. The court usually prefers granting joint custody as it benefits both parents and is the best for their child. Unlike sole custody, joint custody allows a child to have close communication and contact with both of his parents.
Using Child Support for Personal Matters
Child support is for the child’s benefit only, which means that none of the spouses should use it for personal matters. If your ex-husband or wife tries to benefit from child support, you must immediately report such conduct to the court.
Such violations will lead to legal consequences, such as loss of visitation or custodial rights (it depends on the state you’re in). In similar cases, the court might order recalculation of the child support to determine the exact amount that a child requires.
Generally, child support matters are complicated and require legal assistance. Child support cases require a lot of interaction between spouses and the court. Thus, it is in your best interests to seek professional assistance from a skilled lawyer. This last will help you handle child support hearing questions, gather all the necessary information, and represent you in court meetings.
What Else Should You Know About Child Support?
Child support is an important aspect, and some parents do not have enough information about it.
Here are the most common concerns:
– How to Collect Child Support?
A parent can collect child support through numerous ways, including a bank check, direct deposits, or electronic payment cards. In some cases, the paying parent’s employer will send an amount from the parent’s salary to a child welfare agency. The amount is then transferred to the non-paying parent.
– Can You Modify the Amount of Child Support?
The answer is yes. The parents will need to file for child support modification which requires valid information supporting requested changes. In most cases, this is a request for a higher amount. A justifiable reason is necessary to prove any change in monthly expenses. In other words, the parent should be ready to prove that their child has grown up and requires more money for school and different necessary needs.
– Does Child Support End When the Child Turns 18?
Child support doesn’t necessarily end when a child turns eighteen. Your child can still benefit from child support if you prove that he is still wholly dependent on the paying parent as his only financial supporter.
On the other hand, a judge may determine that your child is now out of your “sphere of influence” and can be released from child support (or emancipated).
– What do we mean by “Past-Due Support”?
The term “past-due support” refers to when the paying parent skips or misses his child’s support payments. The court will keep track of any missed amounts which may accumulate over time. If this happens, the paying parent will still be obligated to pay child support. Getting large quantities in “past-due support” will lead to legal consequences.
– What if the Paying Parent Loses or Gets a New Job?
Child support amount won’t change if the paying parent loses or gets a new job with a higher salary. The judge is not responsible for monitoring any significant changes that might happen to the parents’ lives. If you find the change necessary, you will be required to file child support changing requests with the court. This last will then review your request and order new modifications if necessary.
- Child support is a complicated matter and requires professional legal assistance. To best meet your child’s needs, make sure to find the most suitable attorney.
- Child support must cover all your child’s primary needs, including clothing, food, shelter, medical expenses, education, and others. Keep in mind that the paying parent is not responsible for any luxurious items or the non-paying parent’s costs.
- The court will always put your child’s best interests first. Thus, during a child support battle, you will need to answer several questions:
- What are your child’s needs?
- What is your income?
- What assets do you have?
- What are your expenses?
- How is the communication between you and your spouse?
- Do you have any existing arrangements?
- Using child support for personal matters is prohibited by law. If you ever notice such behavior, you must report immediately to the court.
Preparing for child support hearing is necessary to go into the child support battle fully aware of any issues that might arise. Focus on your child’s best interests and stay away from your feelings that might harm your child’s future.
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