It is rare for child support to remain unmodified throughout a child’s minority, especially if the amount is set when they are young. Changes in parents’ incomes and the child’s needs often warrant reevaluating child support to ensure it is still meeting a child’s specific needs.
If you or your child have experienced significant life changes and you have questions about the status of a current child support order, a Chattanooga child support modification lawyer stands ready to help. A skilled child support attorney could pursue or defend against a request for a change in support and help you reach a favorable outcome.
Under state law, both parents are obligated to financially support their children, regardless of the custody arrangement. The state has established mandatory child support guidelines applicable to all parents to provide a uniform method for determining each parent’s support obligations. Under these guidelines, the noncustodial parent is typically obligated to support the parent with whom the child spends most of their time.
The guidelines require judges to consider both parents’ incomes and then assign each parent a percentage of the financial responsibility for the child. If a parent is unemployed or earning less than a court believes they could reasonably make, they may attribute an income to the parent based on their education, training, and employment history.
While the guidelines mandate a specific amount of support, they also consider that parents’ circumstances and their child’s needs may change over time. When such changes occur, a parent is well-advised to talk to a practiced attorney about the process of modifying child support in Chattanooga.
Divorce is a significant change, but many other changes can occur in the months and years afterward. Both parents can request a modification of a child support order at any time. Some of the more common changes affecting parents and children include:
When a parent’s income changes, a family court judge will assess whether the increase or decrease is significant enough to modify support. Tennessee Code Annotated §36-5-101 requires a “significant variance,” often defined as 15 percent or more, in the amount of support currently being paid and what would be paid based on a parent’s revised income.
State law defines a low-income provider as a parent working at their full capacity based on their education and experience. However, their adjusted gross income still falls below the federal poverty level. A practiced attorney could explain the requirements for low-income parents in Chattanooga who are looking to modify a child support agreement.
If another life situation occurs, the parent seeking the modification must provide that their changed circumstances are substantial. Additionally, the change must be one that the parents could not have anticipated when the existing support order was issued. A judge will then assess whether the change creates a significant disparity between the parent’s financial circumstances and whether revising child support is necessary to ensure a child’s well-being.
Inevitably, things in life change. When they do, seek sound legal advice from a seasoned Chattanooga child support modification lawyer. Our firm’s dedicated attorneys have helped numerous parents battle for appropriate adjustments to child support. Call today to begin.