A hearing for child support modification is the first step to determine if the initial burden of changed circumstances has been met. If the moving party can overcome the burden, typically a plenary hearing (trial) is scheduled next. I believe this is what you are asking. A plenary hearing is more like a mini-trial, where testimony is taken from witnesses, and evidence is submitted and entered into the court record, etc. At a hearing, there is no testimony done on the stand. Most often, its the lawyers making argument before the judge. The plenary hearing/trial will not be scheduled unless and until the initial burden can be proven at the hearing. The trial is more involved and complex. I hope this helps to explain the difference.
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Without "all" the facts it is difficult (if not impossible) to offer a reliable opinion. If the Judge has scheduled a hearing/trial it may be because there is an issue in dispute, i.e. what either you or the other party earns on an annual basis or what annual income should be imputed to you," as the setting of child support in and of itself is generally not a complicated process that requires a trial. It is similarly possible that there may be additional issues in dispute, i.e. the setting or possible modification of a parenting time plan (that could explain why you may need a trial).
Issues of support and parenting time are always subject to review and modification upon a party etablishing a significant, permanent change of circumstances. Accordingly, until the child is emancnipated there is always the chance that you can find yourself back in court.
Kenneth A. White, Esq.
New Jersey Family Law Attorney
The Answer provided was based on the limited information provided, and represents information based on the law in general, not a legal opinion that can be relied upon. Before a formal legal opinion can be offered I would need an opportunity to review all possible relevant facts and circumstances. You cannot rely on the advice of an attorney given over the internet. The exact facts of your sitaution, including facts which you have not mentioned in your question, may completely change the opinion that is being offered. Please be aware that the above comments are neither protected by attorney-client privilege, nor may the same be the basis for a malpractice lawsuit.
You stated that you started the process for child support modification. As such, you have the burden to show changed circumstances. For example, if you make less money now because of an injury, or if your ex received large promotions or raises, or if the needs of the child have changed. These are just some examples of what a court may consider as "changed circumstances" If you can show appreciable change, a hearing will be held at which each side presents their side. This hearing is the "trial" that you are referring to.