What to expect at a hearing with the Local Child Support Agency

Child support hearings with the Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) are different than other types of family law hearings. For example, a lawyer from the Local Child Support Agency will be there. This page explains what you can expect in these type of hearings.

Hearings with the LCSA

A lawyer from the local child support agency will be at the hearing

  • The lawyer from the local child support agency represents the county
  • The lawyer does not represent you, the other parent, or your children

You must talk with someone, a caseworker or lawyer, from the LCSA before your hearing

You must talk to the LCSA and the other parent before your hearing. This is called a “meet and confer.” The goal is to try and reach an agreement about child support. If you can reach a full agreement, you will not have to argue your case in court.

A Child Support Commissioner will decide your case

A Child Support Commissioner is a lawyer with experience in child support laws. They are trained to make decisions in child support cases. If you do not want the Commissioner to decide your case, you or the other parent can object before the hearing. 

If one of you objects, the Commissioner will still make a decision. But, if you disagree with the decision, you can file a Notice of Objection (form FL-666). A judge will then review the decision at another hearing.

The Commissioner will not make decisions about child custody or parenting time

Generally, a Child Support Commissioner will only make decisions about child support or sometimes spousal support. If you want to ask for other orders, like for child custody or parenting time, you will need to file a separate request.

What to expect on your court day

You may need to wait before your hearing

Other people may have a hearing the same day as you. Your case may not be called right away. You may end up waiting a few minutes or even more than an hour before it’s your turn. 

If this is the first time you've been in a courtroom, review some basic tips about how to plan for your day in court

Walk to the front of the courtroom

When it is your turn, the Commissioner will call your names and say your case number. You go up to the front. Someone, usually the bailiff or a clerk, will show you which side to take and tell you to sit down. The bailiff is usually the person in charge of keeping order in the courtroom.

Tell the Commissioner your name 

The Commissioner will ask you and your child's other parent to say your names. Then, you may be asked to swear to tell the truth.

The Commissioner asks questions

Usually, the Commissioner asks the LCSA lawyer for basic information about your case. Then, the person who filed the Request for Order to talk first. No matter who talks first, you’ll both get a turn. 

It's okay to ask for a minute to read over your notes if you find yourself getting nervous or forgetting something.

The Commissioner might ask you for 

  • A summary of what you want and why

  • The reason why what the other parent wants isn't the best solution

The Commissioner may also have a question about something you wrote. The LCSA lawyer may also ask you questions. 

Show any evidence you brought

Tell the Commissioner what documents you have. If you didn’t already, give the LCSA lawyer and your child's other parent a copy of the document.  

The Commissioner makes a decision 

Usually, the Commissioner decides that day. If the Commissioner feels they need more information, they may ask you to come back another day.

Someone prepares an order for the Commissioner to sign 

Once the Commissioner makes a decision, the Commissioner will need to sign a court order.

  • In some courts, court staff or the local child support agency will do this
  • In other courts, one of you (or a lawyer, if either of you has one) will have to prepare the order

If you have to prepare the order, use Order After Hearing (form FL-678)  or Short Form Order After Hearing (form FL-688). It needs to say exactly what the Commissioner decided.

The Family Law Facilitator or Self-Help Center may be able to help you with these forms.

Once you have a signed court order, the process of requesting a child support order is complete. You and your child's other parent must follow the order.

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