Calculating, changing, and enforcing child support orders are complex matters that are challenging for parents to handle. Having a Chattanooga child support lawyer on your side to navigate the child support system may be the most effective way of addressing your needs. Legal counsel may be able to answer your questions, calm your fears, and lead you to the relief that you are seeking.
Custodial parents are able to request a court to order non-custodial parents to pay child support for their minor children. Typically, courts issue child support orders in the context of divorce or paternity proceedings. Courts apply the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of monthly support that noncustodial parents should pay.
However, courts also consider other expenses and benefits in arriving at a child support amount, including health insurance premiums and daycare costs. Other considerations may include the number of children in the household and the duty of a parent to pay child support for other children. The purpose of the guidelines is to allow courts to reach a child support obligation amount that ensures that maintains the same standard of living as the children had prior to the divorce or separation.
In some cases, custodial parents are receiving too little support and in others, noncustodial parents are paying too much support. Custodial parents may not receive the support from the noncustodial parents that they have a court order to receive. Modification and enforcement of child support orders are among the services that a child support lawyer in Chattanooga may be able to offer.
Under state law, the obligation of parents to support a child generally lasts until the child turns 18. However, if children are disabled or mentally ill, the court may require parents to support those children past their 18th birthday. As a result, parents sometimes may have child support obligations that last indefinitely.
Over time, the circumstances of the parties may change significantly, which may call for a change in the child support obligation of a noncustodial parent. If the income of a parent or the recalculated child support amount varies by 15 percent or more, a child support modification may be appropriate. Nonetheless, parents may not modify child support orders retroactively, so when a substantial change occurs, parents should take care to file their modification petitions immediately.
Failure to pay child support as ordered could result in contempt of court proceedings. Contempt is either civil or criminal, but both types of contempt petitions have the potential to result in parents who do not pay child support going to jail. Parents sometimes remain in jail until they pay a specific amount of child support, which is typically referred to as a purge amount, or pay the entire amount that is past due.
In other cases, parents serve a specific term of incarceration based on failure to pay. For instance, if a contempt proceeding is criminal, parents could serve up to ten days for every missed payment. When non-payment of child support results in contempt, individuals likely need the advice of an attorney in Chattanooga.
Child support cases have the potential to raise emotions for both the custodial and the noncustodial parent. Custodial parents need financial support for their children according to the state guidelines. However, circumstances could change quickly, which may necessitate modification or enforcement proceedings as needed. A Chattanooga child support lawyer could advise you of your rights and options when you are facing any child support-related litigation.
Parents should not hesitate to enforce their rights both to receive and pay the appropriate amount of child support. As situations change over the years, parents can take steps to adjust child support obligations as needed. Legal counsel may be able to assist parents seeking to ensure that the correct amount of support under the guidelines is part of their court orders. Reach out today for assistance.
By: Kelly M.
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