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Do you have an attorney representing you on this case? Or someone from the government assisting you?
Also, is this hearing only for child support, or is the court going to also hear custody / visitation?
someone from the government
it is only for child support. i have full custody of my son
Well, don't worry. This might seem scary, going into court, approaching the judge, swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but we lawyers do it all the time. Remember that the judge is someone just like you, and most judges just want to see justice done.
So what will happen:
You need to make sure that you are at the courthouse, in the actual courtroom, before your appointed time.
So if the hearing time is 9:00, make sure that you plan to be there at 8:30 or 8:45. Bring a book if you're early. But you want to plan for traffic, looking for the courtroom, etc... so that when your case is called, you will be there.
If your attorney is there, go see him/her, and ask about this specific judge. Judges have opinions on how their courtrooms should be run and the procedures that they do.
how will i know who my attorney is?
I'm sorry, I assumed that you had met the person. Generally it is this someone from the government (as it is governmental attorneys that assist in this) but it is not necessary that you speak with your attorney before you start. If you can find out what your attorney looks like and a name, that could help, but again, it is not crucial.
You might just meet your attorney right before you speak with the judge.
ok....just making sure.
Are you looking for child care and health insurance to be paid by the father?
i didnt think about all that. i didnt know he could pay for that. he doesnt have a job at the moment, as a matter of fact hes never had a job and i had been telling him to get one sence when i found out i was pregnant
but i will need child care if my parents cant watch my son when i start back work
Ultimately that (the no job situation) makes things a bit more tricky. Child support is computed on weekly gross income. If has income from another source (a trust, for instance) then that could be gotten. But ultimately the judge might not grant any child support if he does not have any income.
but i thought he would still have to pay even if he doesnt have a job. which means he would still need to get one. its his obligation as a parent to provide for his son
Yes, the judge will tell him that he needs to get a job. And it will likely grant an award. From the Indiana Child Support Guidelines: The court should consider the obligor's income and living expenses to determine the maximum amount of child support that can reasonably be ordered without denying the obligor the means for self-support at a minimum subsistence level. The court may consider $12.00 as a minimum child support order; however, there are situations where a $0.00 support order is appropriate.
im the obligor correct?
No, he would be the obligor. The person that is obligated to pay would be the obligor.
well he lives with his mother in a house owned by a landlord or something like that that she pays her rent to
Is he a student? Why does he not have a job?
he was supposed to graduate this year(class of 2010) but didnt have all his credits. so hes still in school. he should have taken night classes while in school last year, but i have no idea why he didnt. and i dont know why he doesnt have a job. i guess he just wants to be lazy and have his mother care for him(hes 18)...unfortunately i made the bad decision of being with him. but we arent together anymore, ive grown up!
Good for you. The judge is going to tell him to get a job. Now he might say that he wants to go to college, at which time you could still say that he could get a part time job. It is up to the judge on how he wants to handle this. But I have not seen many judges that are sympathetic to the "full time student / no time worker" argument. Many students work at the same time, and since he has an obligation, he should do so too.
Back to court: so you will be called up in front of the judge, and the judge will probably ask you questions and will probably ask him questions (if he shows up). Your attorney may speak some for you, but it will be a rather informal process (in that you won't need to know any legal jargon). The judge is going to make a determination based upon the situations of the parties.
The judge will probably also tell him to get a job. Again, in my experience the judges side with the child (not with the mother, but with the child) most, in that the obligor has a duty to support the child.
The judge will then sign an order, and you can use that order to get child support from him.
If he does not pay, you can use that order to hold him in contempt, or just sit on it and try to enforce it at a later time.
Another thing the judge might do is order a certain amount, but hold enforcement of the amount until he gets a job.
what exactly does that last sentence mean about contempt?
What that means is that the judge might order $300 a month (or so). And the father is supposed to look for a job. Once he gets a job, then he will owe this amount.
Contempt: it is when someone does not comply with a court order (such as child support).
They can be held liable for damages (money damages) and be put in jail for contempt.
now if the judge assigns him a certain amount now then when he gets a job. does the amount go up?
It could. It depends on the order itself. And that is something that you want to bring up (or have your attorney bring up). You want the order to specifically allow you to petition to modify the order when he does get a job, just in case the amount that is ordered would be higher under the new job.
But you also want to get an order on the books now so that you don't have to go back to court to get an order in the first place.
That is, of course, if the judge is willing to sign such an order.
Just a saying... "on the books" meaning having a valid order that you can enforce against him, without having to go back to court.
But you also want the opportunity to be able to go back to court.
If you need to.
ok.thanks for the explanation.
now would visitation be another court date?
It may or may not. It would be up to the judge. The judge may just want to dispose of this at the same time. '
ok....was there anything else you were going to say before i had cut you off?
No. Basically the court hearing is going to be informal. Note that many people just like you go before the judge, and your situation is not new. The judge has seen it before. He/she will do what he/she can to make you feel comfortable.
And having a representative with you will help.
so its ok for my father to go in there with me?
Yes, but he may or may not be allowed to approach the bench with you.
Again, that is up to the judeg.
ok...well thank you for all your help. I really appreciate it:)
My pleasure. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
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