Courts can order a noncustodial parent to pay child support because every
parent owes this responsibility to their child; every child is entitled
to this support. If you receive a petition telling you that you are being
asked to pay child support, you need to know how to rightly handle this
situation, and to avoid the consequences of any missteps.
You Will Likely Need to Go to Court
First of all, you should see instructions written out on that petition.
They aren't optional. For example, you may be told that you need to
show up in court at a scheduled time. You will need to attend this hearing,
where the court will calculate how much
child support you need to pay. The judge will make this calculation based off of numerous
factors, the main ones being how much you make, how much the other parent
makes, and the current custody arrangement. If your child has special
expenses or needs, this would also go into the child support decision.
Just as with
determining child custody, a judge will determine child support according to "the best interests
of the child".
How You Can Get Ready for the Child Support Hearing
The child support petition should list what you need to bring to the hearing,
and this will definitely include proof of income. Particularly in cases
where the parents are unmarried, a
paternity test might be in order. Whether you are entering paternity proceedings or a
child support hearing, you definitely need the advice of a family attorney.
Even if it is just for a consultation, you need to ensure that you are
taking the rights steps, otherwise you could face serious complications.
What could happen if you don't show up at court? If you are a no-show, or if you do not follow up on the child support
order (which unfortunately could happen on accident!), then you could face:
- Wage garnishment
- Contempt of court charges
- Fines and jail
Again, even a misunderstanding on the terms of the court order could bring
about undeserved consequences. Make sure that not only are your child's
rights upheld, but that your rights are preserved as well.
Call the Meyers Law Group, P.C. to get the trusted legal counsel of a Long Island family lawyer.