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Washington, DC Child Support Hearings

In Washington, DC you can request an order for temporary child support regardless of whether or not you have an ongoing divorce case or child custody case.  However, the process can be quite confusing.

How does a child support case start in Washington, DC?

Generally, a child support matter begins in the District of Columbia with one party (the petitioner) filing a request for a temporary child support order with the DC Family Court. The party must then serve a stamped copy of the notice of hearing on the other party (the respondent).  A hearing will be held within 45 days of the order being filed pursuant to District of Columbia law.

What happens at a Washington, DC child support hearing?

When you arrive for a hearing, you will sign in, and be giving an opportunity to meet and negotiate an agreement before seeing a magistrate judge.  If you can reach an agreement, the judge will want you to have already calculated what the guideline rate would be based upon the parties’ income, child care expenses, child health care expenses, and other financial figures. The child support guidelines can be difficult to understand, but your Washington, DC child support attorney can assist with this process, and help you negotiate an agreement. 

What happens if the parties reach an agreement?

If the parties are able to reach an agreement to amount at guideline rates, or above or below the guidelines, the judge will require the parties to complete a four-part proposed order prior to the hearing. Your child support lawyer can also assist you with this process.

What happens if the parties cannot reach an agreement?

In a Washington, DC child support case, when the parties cannot reach an agreement, the judge will hold a contested hearing in which parties can present evidence and examine witnesses pursuant to the rules of court and procedure.

What is a Temporary Child Support Order in Washington, DC?

During the initial hearing, the judge may set a temporary child support order.  The parties will be expected to return to court at later status date, to determine if the temporary order should be made permanent.   If the parties did not bring proof of their financial information to the first hearing, they may be required to submit proof at the second hearing. 


If there is an ongoing divorce or child custody case in the District of Columbia, the judge may order the child support matter be consolidated with the ongoing case so one judge can make a decision on all issues at the same time.

What about proving paternity in a Washington, DC child support case?

In any child custody case, the court will have to be satisfied the party claiming to be the father of a minor child is the biological father, or there has a legal adoption of the child by that person.  If there is a dispute as to paternity from either party, the court may request to see additional proof, and can order the minor child and putative father to undergo DNA testing to establish paternity as a matter of law.

While this is generally how the process works, every case is different as the facts are never the same.  You should speak with an experienced child support attorney about how things will work with respect to your particular situation.

If you need assistance with child support, divorce, child custody, or other family law issues in Washington, DC, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC for a complete and confidential consultation.

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Practice Areas

  • Washington, DC Divorce +

    Getting a divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions of your life. Whether you were married recently or Read More
  • Washington, DC Child Custody and Visitation Law +

    Litigating child support issues can be one of the more complex and emotional issues in any divorce or family law Read More
  • Washington, DC Child Support +

    Child support is one of the most heavily litigated areas of Washington, DC divorce and family law cases. Sometimes, the Read More
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