What to Do When You Receive a Child Support Petition

If you’ve received a formal request (known as a petition) for child support, it’s important to respond promptly and appropriately. You must follow the instructions on the petition and will most likely need to appear in court on a certain date for a hearing.

At your hearing, the judge will determine how much child support you need to pay based on analyzing both parents’ incomes, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, medical expenses for the child and any other circumstances that could affect how much it will cost to raise the child.

Preparing key documents

To get read for your hearing, gather any evidence you have of your income and any other documents suggested by the court. You cannot get out of paying child support by not showing up to the hearing — in fact, that will likely only increase the amount of money you’ll end up having to pay. Attempting to shirk your responsibilities could also lead to a driver’s license suspension, fines and jail time, among other criminal penalties.

Before you attend the hearing, speak with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the issues surrounding your case. Although you are allowed to represent yourself at child support hearings, it’s not recommended. You will want to be sure you’re not paying an unfair amount of child support or that the methods used obtain the money from you are not overly invasive.

If you need to prepare for a child support hearing, be sure to consult the experienced St. Petersburg family law attorneys at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras.

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