If you and your co-parent aren’t able to reach an agreement on the amount of child support, you’ll have to take the issue to a judge to decide. Child support hearings often occur during divorce proceedings. However, if one of you later seeks a modification to the amount currently being paid, a child support hearing will be necessary if the proposed modification is challenged.

At whatever point the hearing takes place, it’s essential to prepare carefully. It’s best not to navigate these hearings alone, but to have an experienced Florida family law attorney by your side.

Following are some important things to remember.

Have realistic expectations. Judges are required to make their determinations based on Florida child support guidelines and on the information provided by both parties.

Provide complete, accurate information. This is essential for both parents. If you’re less than honest or forthright, it can backfire badly on you. If you suspect or know that your co-parent isn’t being honest about his or her financial situation or other relevant matters, let your attorney know so that appropriate action can be taken.

Be prompt. If you arrive late to the hearing (or somehow miss it completely), you’ve made a poor impression on the judge. It’s an avoidable error that can seriously damage your case. Don’t neglect any email or other communication from your attorney, your co-parent’s attorney or the court in the days leading up to the hearing. There may have been a change in the scheduled day, time or venue.

Stay on topic during the hearing. The judge will likely ask you questions to help him or her make a decision. Answer only the question asked and be as succinct as possible. This isn’t the time to get into issues regarding visitation, custody or other matters involving your ex. The judge is only there to decide the child support matter.

These hearings aren’t pleasant, but are often necessary. With a solid case and an experienced attorney by your side, you have no reason to be fearful or pessimistic. Remember that you have the best interests of your child at heart, as does the judge.

Source: Verywell Family, “How to Prepare for a Child Support Hearing,” Jennifer Wolf, accessed May 24, 2018