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What do you do if you can't appear for a scheduled hearing?

Most divorcing couples work to resolve their issues, with the help of their attorneys, without going to court. However, sometimes -- particularly when it comes to child custody and support matters -- they need to take the matter to a judge to resolve.

Even if child custody and support issues are settled relatively amicably during a divorce, one or the other parent may request changes that the other one denies -- sending them into court years after the break-up.

By then, one parent may be living halfway across the country or even abroad. Getting to court for a hearing can be difficult, if not impossible.

Even if the hearing isn't far away, you may have professional obligations that you can't reschedule. You may feel that your ex is dragging you back into court to wear you down.

You want to show the judge that you're committed to your children, but what do you do if you face scheduling issues? There are options. For example, if the date or time is a problem, you can request a change.

If the location is the problem, you can ask to appear via video conferencing or phone. It's unlikely that you'll be able to get a change of venue since the judge will probably want to hold the hearing in his or her courtroom.

If you request a change, be prepared to provide documentation supporting the reason you give. If you're no longer living in the area, that should be easy to do with proof of your new address. If work obligations prevent your appearance at the scheduled time, you may need a letter or note from your employer.

If being able to appear for a scheduled hearing is an issue for any reason (including because you fear for your safety if you're in the same location as your co-parent), a Florida family law attorney may be able to help. He or she can help you make a request for a schedule change or alternate method of appearance so that you're able to fully participate in all legal matters involving your children.

Source: The Spruce, "Scheduling a Custody or Child Support Court Date," Debrina Washington, accessed Nov. 02, 2017

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