Court Process

If you would like input regarding the specific issues identified in a motion or order to show cause that is served on you, it is important that you attend the court date.  If your case, for example, is on calendar for a motion for child support and you would like input regarding the specific factors (such as your income, the other parties’ income, the visitation percentage, etc.) that were part of the child support calculation, you should attend court.  At that time, you will be given an opportunity to speak with a DCSS attorney or court assistant, who will discuss the issues with you before your case is called by the judicial officer.  You will also be given the opportunity to address the judicial officer.

If you are a noncustodial parent and you have been served with contempt papers, it is imperative that you attend court as your failure to appear will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.  Contempt is a “quasi-criminal” action which means it is “similar to a criminal action.”  A noncustodial parent found guilty of a first violation of contempt can face up to 5 days in jail for each month that he or she failed to pay their child support.  Penalties are greater for subsequent violations.  If you are charged with contempt, the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides you with the right to counsel.  This means that you have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you. 

If you are a custodial parent and a contempt action is filed against the noncustodial parent, your presence in court is usually not required unless a DCSS representative asks you to appear at the court date or you are subpoenaed to appear in court.  However, you may attend any and all of the court dates if you wish to do so.  

If you have questions about your court appearance you may contact DCSS at our toll free telephone number, (866) 901-3212.