A Florida judge, who’s typically a complete stranger, will get to decide how much support you owe or receive for your children. This is why it’s important to prepare to go before a judge. How you present yourself and your understanding of the system will go a long way. Here are things to stay on top of as you prepare for your child support hearing.
Keep track of mail
It’s easy to overlook physical mail and email when you’re dealing with the stress of a separation, but you cannot afford to do so when juggling a court case. Be aware of communications from the court, your lawyer and your ex-spouse’s lawyer. Put them in a digital folder or keep a physical folder. Read them multiple times to avoid misinterpretation.
Stay on time
Showing up late for hearings is never a good look. Participants are usually aware of what the court expects weeks in advance. While empathetic, the court’s heard all the stories about traffic jams, late trains or babysitters not showing up.
Keep your focus
The hearing is for child support. Don’t turn it into an argument over visitation or child custody. Straying from the point is an unnecessary distraction, and it gives the impression you’re not paying attention.
Keep it real
Stay 100% truthful in all matters verbal and written. Manipulation might seem like the way to get what you want, but if your lies are uncovered, you’re done in the court’s eye. It’s important to report finances without attempting to control child support awards. The courts often see through the games.
Child support court determinations are based on many guidelines. Ultimately, it’s about what’s best for the children. Getting caught up in what you believe should happen hampers the entire process, so be prepared to work toward what’s best for everyone.