Any time you are involved in a legal matter that is going before a judge, it is a good idea to show up in court when you are supposed to. Some matters may not require your personal participation, but when the judge expects you to be there, and you are not, it could seriously damage your case in his or her eyes.

This applies to family court matters, such as a hearing to determine whether the noncustodial parent is behind on child support. Rock star Liam Gallagher found this out the hard way recently, when a judge in New York City fined him $5,000 for failing to appear at a hearing over child support he pays to the mother of his child.

When the judge asked Gallagher’s attorney about the whereabouts of his client, the attorney produced a note from Gallagher’s doctor. The note said that Gallagher, former lead singer of Oasis, was suffering from anxiety and depression and could not attend.

The judge did not believe that Gallagher had a legitimate health reason not to be present. He ordered the fine after finding the note “insufficient” evidence of a mental health condition. It does not appear that he issued a ruling on the child support matter, however.

The mother’s attorney said the illness claim was “offensive,” noting that his client travelled from Virginia to New York to attend the hearing.

Hopefully, most child support matters can be settled out of court. But sometimes they cannot, and the parents need a judge to intervene. When that happens, having a family law attorney to represent you can make the difference between a fair and an unfair result.