A child support hearing is held to settle which parent should pay child support, the amount of the payments and the schedule by which the payments should be made. At a child support hearing, parents have the opportunity to present evidence and ask any questions they may have about child support.
Asking the right questions at your child support hearing can protect you by giving you important information about your rights and your child's rights regarding support.
One important question to ask at a child support hearing is what expenses child support can cover, and whether the child support being arranged is intended to cover all necessary expenses. In most states, child support is intended to cover all necessary expenses of raising a child, including costs of daycare, education and medical costs as well as basics like food and shelter. Make sure you are clear on which parent is responsible for which expenses, and how child support will be handled if one parent has to temporarily "pick up the tab" for another.
In most cases, child support is a temporary arrangement. In most states, a parent paying child support only has to do so until the child turns 18. Some states allow child support to be extended into the child's early 20s to pay for schooling. Ask how long the child support payments are expected to last and if you and your child's other parent are responsible for any activity, such as calling the court or filing paperwork, when the end date for child support occurs. Also, if you live in a state where child support may be extended through the child's college years, ask how you would go about setting up and keeping track of payments after the child turns 18.
In most courts, you have the right to ask that certain information be kept private if you are concerned that making that information public will result in harm to you or your child. For example, family courts in the state of Oregon will keep private your address, telephone number, Social Security number and your employer's name and contact information if you ask at the beginning of your child support hearing that this information not be released. The court will require you to provide an address at which you can receive court documents, but this address need not be your residence or business.
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