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What parents can expect at a child support hearing

New York parents needing to appear before a court for a child support hearing may feel more than just a bit of stress over the matter. Parents who take the time to familiarize themselves with the process before their day in court can eliminate much of the stress they may feel. They will also set the stage for a more favorable outcome for everyone involved.

How to prepare

The court will send both parties to a divorce and child support hearing a summons, Final Disclosure Affidavit, and child support petition. Parents will receive these documents either by traditional mail or email. The summons serves as a notice of the date and time of the hearing. The list of items parents should bring to the hearing include:

  • Previous year’s W-2
  • Recent pay stub
  • Previous year’s tax return
  • Information regarding rent or mortgage
  • List of health and medical bills
  • List of child care expenses

The child support hearing

Both parties to a child support dispute, as well as their legal representation, will appear at the hearing. A representative for the Support Collection Unit or Department of Social Services may also be present.

A support magistrate oversees the hearings and will listen as both sides present their case. The support magistrate will use the income and expenses of both parents to determine the dollar amount the parent paying support is responsible for each month. The magistrate will also consider any special needs possessed by the child.

Parents can present a prior agreement made between them to the court. The magistrate will issue an Order of Support on consent if choosing to accept the agreement.

What to expect after the hearing

Orders of support go to the Child Support Enforcement Unit. The unit will set up an account related to the order. The Support Collections Unit is responsible for facilitating child support payments.

The SCU will submit an Income Withholding Order to the employer of the paying parent. This order requires the employer to withhold a money amount equal to the child support a worker needs to pay. The SCU sends this money to the Child Support Processing Unit.

Child support matters can become complicated for both parents involved in a dispute. A lawyer may be able to answer questions possessed by a parent dealing with a child support dispute.