May 28, 2011,
M.C. asks from Orlando, FL on May 27, 2011
We Are Going to Court for Child support...Now What???
I had a relationship with my baby's father 2yrs before we actually conceived the baby that's why he doesn't believe is his child and i absolutely understand is doubts that is why i never deny a DNA test in the first place but he completly dessapare telling me i only wanted his money and leaving me alone with the whole pregnancy and now my baby is 6 months. I did not wanted to put him on child support because i think he doesnt deserve to have a daugther but my baby's health insurance is at risk if i dont and that is just NOT GONNA HAPPEND so i did all the paperwork at child support, they found him, he is actually working, they set a court hearing(which i have no idea exacly what it is) for next month and i have a lot of worries and concerns about everything...from what documents should i have with me to what am i gonna say or how to actually dress i have never been in a court room before, i have never had any legal situation and most important i really dont want to see him face to face...any advice???
So What Happened?™
We where 1st supposed to have a DNA test perform but for some reason we are going to court now 1st....another thing i do not understand...
J.H. answers from San Antonio on May 27, 2011
First, you need to dress in good attire. (church clothes, dress slacks and button down shirt, something along those lines.)
Secondly, chances are he will be served and told to appear. He will probably get a lawyer who will ask for the DNA test. Court will be adjourned pending the results of the DNA.
Then you'll get info about a second court date and go from there.
As far as seeing him face to face, just relax and keep your cool. Whatever he says, don't get emotional. If you are very matter of fact, it'll go much smoother.
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M.D. answers from Minneapolis on May 27, 2011
(I'm in Minnesota and this is how it is done here)1st court hearing will be to establish him as the father of your child. If he is there and says he doesn't think that the child is his then the court will order a DNA test. If he doesn't show up the judge will just declare him the father and put a judgement in for how much child support that he needs to pay. If he does show up and a DNA test is ordered, it will be and there will be another hearing to have the results read to both of you, if it is shown he is the father then a judge will figure out how much child support he needs to pay, who will have custody, if he wants any visitation and such.
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V.W. answers from Jacksonville on May 27, 2011
If he isn't willing to do the DNA testing (they also might use a slightly different test called HLA, which is a less expensive test, but just as accurate for the purposes of determining paternity) then the court has to order it. So at the hearing, the Court will order it and your case will be continued until the results come back. During the interim, you both will be notified when and where to present yourselves (and the child) for the testing. It does not have to be at the same location nor at the same time. They will draw blood (or sometimes they do the test using a buccal swab) and draw conclusions about paternity: either he is dad or he will be excluded, basically. There aren't any "maybe he is, it's 60%" results-- either he will be excluded, or the results will be in the 99.7% range. If results are exclusionary, the case will be dismissed. If it is determinative, then another hearing will be set by the attorney to ask the court to make an adjudication of paternity and set support based upon income.
In some cases (not all), at this preliminary hearing, the court may set a temporary support amount that he must pay into a depository but which is not distributed (in case the testing determines he is excluded as the father).
There probably won't be that much you will need to do or say. Whomever is representing you (the prosecuting attorney for the state's child support enforcement agency?) will do most of it. If you have more questions, contact your contact person handling your case. They can answer more specific questions.
And yes, wear "church" or "professional" attire (it doesn't need to be a dress). It won't change what happens in your case, but you will display respect for the Court, which will reflect nicely on you.
Ooh.. wanted to add: If he is not cooperative and fails to show up (either for the hearings or for the blood draws) after several notices at the address he gives the court, then the court will do what is called as a "default" judgment. It means, you get what you requested b/c he failed to comply with the rules after due notice, i.e., determination of paternity and support based upon the financial information available at the time. The can also issue an IDO (income deduction order) to have the money deducted directly from his wages.
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J.S. answers from Tampa on May 28, 2011
Ok, whatever you do in this situation, you need to remain calm. Judges, child support enforcement workers, and court workers can and WILL help you and will be ON YOUR SIDE since you are the one with PHYSICAL CUSTODY OF THE CHILD if you STAY CALLM and do not get EMOTIONAL and irrational. This is a process that is new and scary to you, but trust me, these people go through it a thousand times a week, and NOTHING your ex can say or do will be new to them. That is something to feel confident about, they have heard his BS before. (no new tricks)
You don't need to "dress up"for court, just dress nicely, like I assume you would if you were going to a job interview or a classy lunch. If you wear some really expensive dress and way over do it, it actually could work against you. I had a friend borrow an expensive designer dress for court, and the judge happened to be female and she noticed the dress and mentioned it and asked her how she could afford that when she claimed to have such a little income and needed child support. She assumed that she was hiding income since her reported income was low, and that was what her ex was accusing her of. I say go with something nice, but not over the top dressy. Be yourself! Also, do NOT bring your child! The courtroom is not a place for kids. Period. If they need the child for any reason, they will let you know. If you go before the judge, you will not be the only case heard that day, and will have to wait your turn. Your child may be fussy having to wait with all of those other people going up before you. It can take a while.
I assume that your financial formshave all been filled out? Did you know that you can go to the court clerks office and get a copy of your ex's too? They will give you a copy of his for a small fee, like a dollar a page. You can do it before or after your case is heard. This way, you can check to make sure he has reported his income correctly. (if you know what that is) Also, it will give you his address, etc. The child support will be a seperate issue from any visitation. If I were you, I would not allow any visitation with a man who has not seen me throughout the pregnancy or has not seen the baby at all, unless that visitation is SUPERVISED. I would ask the court (when the time comes) to appoint a guardian ad litem, which is someone to speak and act for the child. They will go to both homes and speak to BOTH parents and asses the situation and report to the judge what they believe would be the best and safest situation for the child. If he has no experience with kids at all, or has any history of being aggresive or has a record or any kind, the judge may order him to take parenting classes or something before he would be allowed to have any unsupervised visits. You never mentioned why you broke up, or if he was ever violont or verbally abusive, so I am going to assume he wasn't and just really didn't want a child after 2 years. He sounds like a child himself really. (most of them are for a lot longer than the women) He may not even ask for or want visitation for now, if ever. If I were you I would just be prepared for it though, so you are not shocked, and understand that the judge will NOT address that issue at the same time that he does the child support. Remember this too, just because you and this guy were not able to work things out doesn't mean that someday in the future your child may want to know or have some type of relationship with him. He is the father. (if and only IF he is a healthy and safe person)
I wish you the best. You did nothing wrong. Court can be scary for someone who has never been there, and you need to not be intimidated by it all. You were BOTH there when your child was conceived, and I am sure that you don't regret it at all now, since you have a beautiful child to love and watch grow as a result. He has to deal with the consequences of his actions way back when, as you have been all along. Child support is NOT about him paying YOU and YOU getting his money. It is about what the CHILD is entitled to, and what the CHILD deserves. Every CHILD deserves to be able to eat, have clothes to wear, a roof over their head, a way to get around to the places that they need to go, toys to play with, medical insurace, and to feel safe. This is about your child. HIs child. If he can't see that, well than he himself is still a child and you should be very happy that you are not still with the guy because you would be raising TWO kids not one. Good luck! :)
1 mom found this helpful
M.P. answers from Portland on May 27, 2011
Sounds like this process was started by a social agency supplying you with insurance. I suggest that you talk with the person who told you to go for child support. If they don't know what will happen they can refer you to someone else who will.
You may not have to be in court. You really need to talk with someone involved in the process. If you filed, yourself, in the courthouse go back to that office and ask them.
C.C. answers from Visalia on May 27, 2011
judges hate whinning and he said, she said drama. they want facts not cry-fries. this is why documenting is vital. your baby might be entitle to accrued or back pay of 6 mths. take deep breaths and focus.
G.B. answers from Oklahoma City on May 28, 2011
If he is contesting the parentage the judge has to "order" him to take the test or he can just refuse. The judge will determine what is going to happen next.
If child support enforcement gets involved then they send a notice to the employers and the employers hold his child support out of his check and send it to the state, then the state will disburse it to you via a debit card or automatic deposit t your account. They will also take his income tax refund and even though they hold it for some time it will eventually come to you until he pays all back child support. The reason they hold it that if someone, like a spouse or a bill collector, has a hold on his income tax refund they have to let them have their money first. It should go to the kids first but his bills that are outstanding have first priority.
A working spouse who files jointly with a spouse that owes child support can file "Injured Spouse" and claim their own refund based on their own income and still get a better refund from the filing jointly.
J.S. answers from Pensacola on May 28, 2011
My daughter had a court hearing like this last year. He is on the birth certificate but she has full custody as they have never been to court to establish any other custody. This court is for child support only and they do not get in to custody. Both he and my daughter brought bills and grocery receipts with them ( his were for his house and the baby lives with her) but they only looked at his paperwork. They told her it she wanted to present hers she would have to take him to civil court. They had originally sent him paperwork stating that he would have to pay about $300 p/mo which he did not pay. After looking over his receipts and their incomes (she makes as much as he does) they did their worksheet and determined that he only had to pay a whopping $52 p/mo. She basically just had to sit there while they looked over his papers and decided her daughters child support. He is also supposed to provide health care (she is still on medicaid a year later) and pay for daycare which he recently got a government assisted daycare in a not so great neighborhood. My daughter is not happy with the situation but she still has full custody and will be marrying a wonderful guy, they are not looking back and will provide and wonderful life, good insurance and great education for her daughter. Prayers and good luck to you.
D.G. answers from Lincoln on May 27, 2011
My situation was a little different because he signed the birth certificate. I wore nice clothes (skirt and sweater - it was winter!). I wasn't allowed to bring anyone to the court hearing itself but my sister went along and waited outside for moral support. (didn't want to see him/talk to him). He acknowledged to the court he was the father but disagreed with the ordered support so then I had to go in the courtroom. Basic questions were identify myself, my daughter, that he was the father, had he acknowledged her, had he paid anything, why not?, they already had the worksheet for the amount ordered she then asked him why he didn't think he should have to pay that amount ("I have bills to pay and rent" - her response, "we all have rent") and she ordered it. Visitation didn't come in to play at all because when it is the state that is going after child support they are 2 separate issues.
In your case, I would guess since he has not acknowledged paternity he will have the chance to either acknowledge it or deny it and if denied then the DNA test will be ordered. And then the hearing for child support will be set.
I don't remember that I had any documents. The court had the birth certificate, the child support worksheet, our incomes (he won't be able to lie!!!). But I did have to be at the courtroom or risk her medicaid being terminated.
I was a nervous wreck. But when he didn't help out with prenatal medical bills I had to put the baby on medicaid. I did consult an attorney after child support was ordered because of course as soon as it was garnished he wanted to see her. The attorney told me until there is a court ordered visitation/custody I didn't have to let him. I've only allowed 2 hour visits at a library with me and usually a friend or my sister. Which makes him mad. But he will go months without asking to see her or even about her. So I don't feel bad at all. A mother's job is to take care of her child. Which is what you're doing.