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Key reminders if you're preparing for a child support hearing

In an ideal world, you and your co-parent would be able to reach an agreement on child support on your own, with the help of your attorneys. However, sometimes that's not possible.

You may have to ask a judge to rule on child support, either during the divorce or later if a modification is sought by you or your co-parent. These hearings can be daunting. However, if you keep in mind a few simple things, you can improve your chances of getting the outcome you're seeking.

First, it's essential to have realistic expectations. Judges have guidelines by which they have to abide. You can review the 2018 Arizona Child Support Guidelines and 2018 Child Support Calculator at Azcourts.gov.

A key guideline for child support is what the paying spouse earns or is capable of earning. If you're the parent who's receiving or seeking support and you have reason to believe that your co-parent is hiding income or intentionally earning less than he or she could ("voluntary impoverishment") to avoid or minimize support responsibilities, you should be ready to present evidence of that.

Just as your co-parent has to be completely honest about the facts presented to the judge, so do you. Every document that you complete for the court and every statement you make must be truthful and complete. Whichever side of the child support equation you're on, you need to present your financial picture honestly. That includes accurate reporting your child-related expenses if you're the one with primary custody of your child.

Don't use the child support hearing to address other matters, such as custody and visitation or other issues related to the divorce. Stick to the topic at hand. If other matters need to be settled in court, your attorney will help you take the necessary steps to do that.

Finally, be on time for this and all hearings. Make sure you know the date, time and location and are aware of any changes to the schedule. Make child care arrangements in advance if you need to.

Child support issues can be very emotional ones -- particularly if you're still dealing with your divorce. That's why it's essential to heed the advice of your Arizona family law attorney, who can offer experienced, objective guidance to help you seek the right outcome for your child.

Source: Verywell Family, "How to Prepare for a Child Support Hearing," Jennifer Wolf, accessed June 06, 2018

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