The period after divorce is rough on the entire family for many reasons. This is a time of complete change in most aspects of life, including residential changes, scheduling considerations and budgetary adjustments. In spite of these concerns, parents cannot afford to make major errors involving the children as they develop new routines.
Attached to every Minnesota decree of dissolution or legal separation is a request for six-month review hearing form. While this form is not a guarantee that a six-month review hearing will be held, our Minneapolis child support attorneys have seen cases when the courts order these hearings to serve the best interests of the children.
How the Six-Month Review Process Works
Under Minnesota law, the state court administrator must prepare a request for review hearing form and attach it to the final divorce or separation paperwork. In essence, this form serves to remind both parties that they need to strictly comply with the terms of the divorce, while providing the paperwork that initiates the hearing process.
When both parents meet their obligations, they do not typically initiate the review process. However, if a parent fails to make required child support payments, stick with the parenting time schedule or observe legal and physical custody requirements, the other parent can complete the form needed to request a hearing.
In essence, the six-month hearing gives the courts the opportunity to review the following issues:
- Whether child support payments are up-to-date, and
- Whether both parents are complying with the parenting time established in the decree
When it comes to child support payments in particular, the parent who is allegedly non-compliant with the order (the obligor) has the burden of proving that the payments are current. Since this type of proof typically requires evidence provided by a public authority, the law requires a timely response from all authorities, as long as the obligor requests it at least 14 days prior to the hearing date.
Penalties for Non-Compliance Can Be Severe
If, after a thorough review, the court finds that the obligor has not been compliant with the terms of the decree relating to child support, it can impose any number of enforcement actions, including (but certainly not limited to) the following:
- Income withholding
- Property liens
- Driver’s license suspension
- Passport denial
- Criminal charges
When parenting time issues are in question, the courts may send a law enforcement officer to accompany the parent who is seeking the time with the children as stipulated in the decree.
The courts may provide the six-month review form at the time of divorce or separation to facilitate the request process, but this does not mean that the process is a simple one. Cases likes these are likely to be hotly contested, so both parties should strongly consider retaining an experienced Minneapolis divorce attorney to help protect their interests and those of the children. If you want to issue a request or if you have received one, call us at 763-323-6555 or use our convenient contact form to discuss your concerns.