If you have been served with a summons to appear at a child support hearing in Nevada, or have requested that your co-parent appear at one, you probably have many questions about your rights and responsibilities.
This post will discuss what to expect at a child support hearing and how to prepare yourself for what can be an emotionally challenging experience.
In most cases, it is best to contact an experienced family law attorney before appearing at a child support hearing.
What triggers a child support hearing?
A child support hearing can be triggered when one parent requests an initial child support order, or files a motion to modify an existing order. Under Nevada law, parents have the right to request a change of child support every three years. They may also do so whenever there has been a substantial change in financial or other family circumstances.
What happens during a child support hearing?
There are two types of child support hearings: initial child support hearings, and child support modification hearings.
At an initial child support hearing, a family court judge or hearing master will give both parents an opportunity to be heard. If the parents are represented by lawyers, the lawyers will present arguments on behalf of the parents. In some cases, the parents may be required to prove a child’s paternity or maternity. The parents will have to provide information about their income, the amount of time they spend with their child or children, and the expenses related to the care of their child or children.
After the hearing, the family court judge will issue a decision about your case and enter a child support order. Sometimes this happens at the end of the hearing, but it may take a few weeks. Once the judge enters a child support order, the parent responsible for making child support payments must do so in accordance with the terms of the order. If he or she fails to do so, there will be serious legal consequences. If your co-parent has failed to pay child support, contact a family law attorney right away.
If the hearing master renders a decision, and objection can be filed in the district court within 10 days.
A child support modification hearing takes place only if one or both parents has requested a change to an existing child support order. Just like at an initial child support hearing, both parents will be given an opportunity to present their case. The parents will have to prove why the existing child support order should or should not change, and may be required to show that changed circumstances justify an increase or decrease in their monthly support payments. After the hearing, the judge will issue a decision about your case. He or she will either agree to modify your existing order, or leave it as is.
What if both parties agree to submit a stipulation?
If you and your co-parent have reached an agreement about child support payments that you both want to take force, you can submit what is known as a “stipulation” to your family court judge. If the judge approves the agreement, the judge will sign an order that makes the stipulation binding. Typically, judges will approve child support stipulations submitted by parties as long as the stipulation is not illegal or against public policy.Submitting a stipulation can help you avoid having to appear at a child support hearing.
What can I do to prepare for a child support hearing?
A child support hearing can be an emotionally charged and very difficult experience. To eliminate the possibility of surprises, you should be as prepared as possible for your hearing. Keep accurate, detailed, and up-to-date financial records. Have this information ready to present at your hearing. A family law attorney can help you best prepare for your child support hearing, and make sure that you get the support you need to raise your child or children.