Thank you for your question.
Ultimately, there are two ways the hearing can be continued: (1) agreement of all interested parties and (2) by court order. If all the parties cannot agree then the court will look at whether the request is reasonable. Although it sounds like you have a good reason to request the continuance, it may be very difficult to obtain one, especially if you are the moving party. To the extent that you ask the court for a continuance, you will have the burden of proving why a continuance is necessary.
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Your best option is to get all parties and Family Services to agree to the postponement. If that is not an option, then you are left to the whims of what the judge considers to be reasonable. In a situation where a continuance is requested by one party, the court is going to look at whether your ex would be prejudiced if the continuance was granted. For example, if all parties are ready and willing to move forward without you, there may not be a good excuse for the court to move the date out. Having said that, judges are usually sympathetic and reschedule due to situations where unexpected emergencies arise like death. For example, if you had to attend an unexpected funeral that day, then a judge may consider that a valid reason. It really depends on the judge. There are circumstances where a judge will continue a hearing because the moving party ends up in the hospital and then there are other judges who will not consider granting the continuance. So it depends on the history of your case and the judge. There is no hard and fast rule.
If you plan to introduce the evidence of the other parent's plan to deceive and conspire, then that will need to be done either through motion work or a hearing. Your ex will then have a chance to respond. It is unlikely that the judge will consider this information in a vacuum without giving your ex the chance to respond.
It is possible that the court will consider the stress of the hearing; however, the judge will then wonder why you decided to seek an increase in modification if you could not attend the hearing. However, in making the determination, the court will consider the imposition and prejudice a continuance will have on the other parties involved.
Given what I know of the situation, it is possible that the parties will not agree to continue this out. (If you can get the Department to agree to the continuance, then that increases the likelihood that the judge will grant the continuance.) However, if the parties do not agree, the judge may not be inclined to continue the matter and will ask the parties to show up for the hearing. If you produce your evidence, then your ex will be given the chance to respond. If the court feels that your ex is trying to pull one over on the court, then the court may be inclined to just grant the motion for increased support to save the court time and to prevent the parties from having to come back.
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