Within Family Court is a new Post Decree Child Support Court that will provide quick resolution of post decree child support matters. The new court will provide litigants with an opportunity to reach an agreement with a Conference Officer. If no agreement is reached, a hearing with a Judicial Officer will be held immediately.
The new court is expected to:
- Resolve the child support issue promptly
- Reduce the number of times parties must come to court
- Ensure that judicial decisions are made by judicial officers
- Use the Court’s ancillary services more effectively and efficiently
Post Decree Child Support Court will be fully implemented in all regions on October 1, 2005. What is Post Decree Child Support Court? Post Decree Child Support Court is designed for parties seeking a simplified child support modification or other modification of child support. Upon filing a petition, parties will receive an Order to Appear from the Family Court Conference Center for a one-hour conference and a subsequent 45-minute evidentiary hearing before a judicial officer. They will meet with a conference officer to try to reach an agreement. If an agreement is reached during the conference, it will be memorialized as a written stipulation and signed by a Judicial Officer before the parties leave the courthouse.
If there is no agreement, or if only some issues are resolved, the parties will appear at an evidentiary hearing immediately after the conference at which they will receive a final order from a judicial officer. Because a judicial officer will enter a final order the same day as the conference and hearing, there will no longer be the delays experienced under the former process which required a report and recommendation from a Family Court Conference Center officer, adoption by a judicial officer, objections by the parties, and hearings to resolve objections. How can I get my case to Post Decree Child Support Court? If you file a petition to modify child support, you will need to obtain an Order to Appear from the Family Court Conference Center. The Order to Appear will tell you when your conference and hearing are scheduled. You must serve the other party the Order to Appear (and your other documents).
If you file a request to modify- simplified procedure, and a request for hearing is filed by the other party, your case will automatically be included in the Post Decree Child Support Court. You will receive your notice to appear for the conference and hearing in the mail. Can I participate in Post Decree Child Support Court if I have filed a petition to modify child custody, parenting time and child support? If you file a petition to modify child custody, parenting time and child support; all issues, including child support, will be heard by the Judge assigned to your case. They will not be heard in the Post Decree Court. In general, parties will no longer be referred to the Family Court Conference Center for child support calculation by their Judge once the Judge has entered a child custody or parenting time order. Parties must be prepared to address child support at the hearing that modifies custody or parenting time.