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Preparing for a child support hearing

Child support hearings can be among the most stressful parts of a Texas family law case, but preparation helps relieve much of that stress. Parents who have support hearings coming up should keep a few things in mind to get the benefits of the process while keeping stress to a minimum.

Communications from attorneys or the courts often have deadlines for response, so it is important to stay on top of legal correspondence. Reading the letters near their arrival dates gives the person more time to respond.

Everything submitted to the courts in advance of the hearing should be entirely truthful. Sometimes, the parties to a case may be tempted to be dishonest about under-the-table income, for example. Attempts to manipulate the fact-finding system hurt the person in the eyes of the court.

A big mistake too many people make is showing up to the hearing late. Being in court on time shows the judge that the person cares about the process and has respect for the forum. A good first impression can be important in any legal proceeding. It's a good idea to plan to arrive well in advance of the scheduled hearing time to have a buffer for potential delays like traffic along the way.

The purpose of a child support hearing is to allow the judge to determine child support payments. Typically, the judge does not have the authority or the desire to rule on other matters even if they're related, like child custody or visitation. During the child support hearing, parents should stay on topic.

The court in a child support case will typically determine child support payments based on what the parent is able to earn. An attorney may be able to help a parent in a such a case by arguing on the client's behalf in family court or by drafting and filing documents to amend an existing support order if financial circumstances change.

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