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In modern day life there are so many distractions and everyone seems to have a million things that they need to get done. While it is good to stay busy having a crazy schedule can often times lead to people missing out on appointments, even ones as important as a child support hearing. So, what happens if you miss a child support hearing? Well, nothing good.
When someone is served papers and required to appear in civil court, the minimum amount of time before the hearing is 30 days. So, if someone has one month to prepare and still fails to show up to the hearing, they can expect some negative consequences. While things do happen and mistakes are made, missing a child support hearing will do them no favors, especially if this is the initial child support hearing.
This is the first opportunity for each person to present themselves before a judge and make a good impression, failing to appear is about the worst possible start someone could have given themselves. The judge has the final say and will be deciding a large portion of both parent’s financial futures, at least until their child turns 18. Snubbing them is not only disrespectful, but gives off the appearance that this case is unimportant.
Besides losing favor with the judge, you can be guaranteed that the apposing party’s attorney will be taking this in to consideration as well.
Consequences of Missing a Child Support Hearing
When someone fails to show in court in a criminal case, a bench warrant is issued. The court is most often unable to continue through the judicial process without the person being present to hear the matters before it. The court will wait until the person is apprehended, then proceed after they are able to appear again.
However, civil matters (such as child support) are treated much differently. Since both parties in a support case are provided with sufficient amount of time to make arrangements to appear, the court will likely determine that a failure to appear is the same as simply not wanting to appear.
If not contacted by the court in advance, judges will simply view the situation as a person deciding that the court can make decisions without their presence being required. What this means is that only one side of the case will be heard, giving the apposing party a significant advantage in receiving what they want.
In cases where one parent has failed to show, the judge can only make decisions based upon the evidence presented to them. When one person fails to show, there is no evidence that supports their particular point of view. Thus, the judge has nothing to help make a determination that could be beneficial for them.
These kinds of cases almost always result in the parent who is failing to show receiving the short end of the stick, so to speak. The court rules against them, maybe even creating a situation that is completely unfair, but is the best judgement they could make without hearing the other person’s side.
What Can Be Done About It
The problem is that there can be circumstances where the person may have been unable to appear in court. They may have had every intention of appearing and have a valid reason as to why it was simply impossible for them to be able to appear. While the court may not be sympathetic, it does not mean that they don’t make exceptions in some circumstances. They are not completely unreasonable after all.
In such a situation a person must petition to the court to re-open the case so that they can present their evidence and get a fair ruling. But, understand at this point that you most likely do not look good in the eyes of the court, so you better have a good reason as to why you missed your case.
The very best thing to do for any person that is in a situation similar to this is to get in contact with a family law attorney. Arizona family law attorneys will hear your side of the story out and figure out the best way to explain your situation to a judge.
How JacksonWhite Can Help
The very best thing to do would to be to contact our family law team before your court date, that way we can help you get prepared for your case. We can even represent you in court, that way if a situation arises where you would be unable to make your court day we would be in the court room representing you. This looks much better than not showing up.
If you are in the situation where you have already missed your child support hearing, give us a call and we will go over all the options that you have moving forward. Most likely, the best thing we could do in this situation is appeal to the courts to re-open your case so you can present your evidence.