What Will an Opposing Attorney Ask in a Child Support Hearing?

By Angie Gambone

In most states, child support hearings are initially held before a magistrate, administrative law judge or other court officer rather than an actual judge. This keeps the process much less formal. If a parent is unhappy with the results of the initial hearing, he may request a hearing in front of a judge. It is not uncommon for both parties to be without attorneys at the initial hearing, although at a hearing in front of a judge, there are oftentimes attorneys representing one or both parties. The questions will likely be the same or very similar whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent.

In most states, child support hearings are initially held before a magistrate, administrative law judge or other court officer rather than an actual judge. This keeps the process much less formal. If a parent is unhappy with the results of the initial hearing, he may request a hearing in front of a judge. It is not uncommon for both parties to be without attorneys at the initial hearing, although at a hearing in front of a judge, there are oftentimes attorneys representing one or both parties. The questions will likely be the same or very similar whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent.

Work History

Establishing your work history will be very important during a child support hearing. The opposing attorney will ask you about your educational background and any special degrees or certifications you hold. You will also be asked about your current job as well as your employment from the past few years. If you are unemployed, the attorney will ask you to explain why. You will also be asked what steps you have taken to find employment and what jobs you have applied for in recent months. If you are underemployed, you will also be questioned about this. Determining your work history is important because it lets the judge know what you are capable of earning.

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Proof of Income

The opposing attorney will question you about your income from all sources, including your full-time or part-time employment, and unemployment and disability compensation. You will be asked about your receipt of public assistance or Social Security. You will also be asked about income you may receive from a pension or from your assets, such as dividends on stocks. It is a good idea to bring paperwork with you to prove your income. This paperwork would include your pay stubs, IRS W-2 forms and your latest tax returns.

Additional Considerations

In addition to using your income to determine how much child support you will pay or receive, the court will consider some other facts as well. For example, if your children are in day care or camps while the parents are at work, this can affect your child support. The opposing attorney would ask you about the costs for child care and may ask for proof. If you cover your children under your health insurance, the attorney would ask you about the premiums you pay since this also affects child support. Also, if you pay mandatory retirement contributions or union dues, many states use these figures in determining child support.

Children from Other Relationships

Whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent, it is important for the court to know if you have children from other relationships as this can affect child support. The opposing attorney will ask you if you have any other children and how often they stay with you. You will be asked to give your children's ages and whether or not they have any special needs. Also, if you are remarried, your new spouse's income can sometimes be considered in determining child support, so be prepared to answer questions about that as well.

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Guidelines for Arkansas Child Support Payment & Income

Arkansas law takes much of the pain and fuss out of calculating child support. If it appears that you'll be the non-custodial parent when your divorce is final, estimating how much you'll have to pay – and how you'll pay it – is comparatively simple, given how complex the process can be in other states. Arkansas passed Administrative Order No. 10 in 1990, which offers charts and rules that tell you exactly how much your child support obligation should be.

What Can I Do if My Ex Is Working Under the Table & Not Paying Child Support?

Federal and state law requires that a noncustodial parent pay child support unless there are special circumstances where a judge waives this requirement. Courts will usually collect child support by garnishing a noncustodial parent's wages. In some instances, your ex-spouse may work under the table or receive cash payments, which makes it difficult for the court to enforce a wage garnishment. If that is the case, there are steps you can take to try to get child support that is owed to you.

Why Do I Have to Give My Payroll Stubs to My Divorce Attorney?

Divorces revolve around two important issues: your children and your finances. Your pay stubs can affect both. Judges and attorneys won’t take your word for it regarding how much you earn. They’ll want proof to ensure that your children receive an appropriate amount of child support, and to calculate spousal support, if applicable. Your pay stubs provide irrefutable confirmation that your income is what you say it is.

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