Any advice on what to say while in court? Will i appear in front of a judge? What is going to happen?

Asked about 2 years ago - Los Angeles, CA

I have a court date for child support. My baby is now 2 years old & father has not been there at all. He is currently having more kids & caring for them. Just want to know what should & should not be said. Am I allowed to have a lawyer?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Cathleen Elisabeth Norton

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Just stick to the facts; do not disparage the father. It is irrelevant to the issue of child support and you may look bad doing so in front of the judge.

    The relevant facts have to do with the financials as reflected on both parties' Income and Expense Declaration.

    The judge will probably ask you some variation of the following questions: how much time is the dad spending with the child? how much money do you make? how much money does the dad make? do you have a mortgage? If so, how much of the payment is principle and how much is interest? How much do you pay in property taxes? Do you have union dues? Do you have child care expenses and proof of payment for those child care expenses?

    The thing you want to watch out for is something called a "hardship deduction." Remind the judge that dad chose to have more children after this one was born, and he shouldn't get a "hardship deduction" for children born after this one since he already knew he was responsible for supporting this one but chose to have more. Remind the judge that a "hardship deduction" should not be given to the dad, and that the court is not mandated to do so. It is discretionary, so tell the judge to exercise his/her discretion in not giving the dad a "hardship deduction."

    I am including some links below which you may find helpful. Good luck to you.

    If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Good Answer" button or "Best Answer" at the... more
  2. Rhonda Diane Ellifritz

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Absolutely, you are allowed to bring an attorney with you. You may want to ask the Judge to continue the matter so that you can hire an attorney. For further information, visit http://www.ellifritzlaw.com

    Since legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing,... more
  3. Lisa Bloom

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Hello, Los Angeles!
    Yes, you will be appearing before a judge. Yes, you may bring a lawyer, and you should, if possible.
    Before you go in, review all the income and expense information information for you and your baby's father. Child support hearings can be emotional, but if you want to win over the judge, stay calm and stick to the facts. The judge doesn't want to hear about all the issues in your relationship, why you split up, how he's a lousy dad, etc. Your baby's father, sadly, is not required to spend time with his own child. Legally, he is only required to pay child support. So, stick to that. Explain your financial situation. Be honest, brief and direct in answering the judge's questions.
    I am sorry that your baby's father is so irresponsible, but your baby is lucky to have you.
    Hang in there and good luck!

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