At the conclusion of your child support case, a judge generally issues an order, and you expect it to be final. However, child support cases rarely exist in a vacuum, and either you, your child, or the other parent could experience significant changes after your case is closed.
An experienced Hamilton County child support modification lawyer could work with you when different circumstances warrant revising your court orders. Our dedicated child support attorneys are available to explain your legal options.
Under state law, either parent is eligible for a child support modification to reflect their current life circumstances. It may be necessary to change child support for many reasons, including but not limited to:
To consider modifying support, a judge must be convinced that the parent could not control the change and did not take any action to avoid paying child support. Additionally, the changed circumstances must be substantial enough to materially impact the existing child support amount. A skilled local attorney could assess a case’s facts and determine whether it is necessary to revisit the child support amount.
No child support order is set in stone. Tennessee Code Annotated §36-5-101 permits a judge to modify support if there is a “significant variance” from the prior support order, defined as a change of 15 percent or more.
Additionally, a significant variance exists if there is at least a 7.5 percent change, and the parent is a low-income provider. A parent working at their full capacity given their experience and educational level, yet their adjusted gross income still falls below the federal poverty level is considered a low-income provider. A judge can also revisit child support to include the costs of a child’s healthcare even if they do not adjust the base child support amount.
If a parent believes an adjustment is warranted, they can submit a request to the local child support office or file a petition in family court. Both parents must then submit all required documentation so that the child support division or a judge can determine whether to revise child support. A seasoned attorney understands the complex process of modifying child support in Hamilton County and could effectively guide a parent through the legal process.
Under state law, child support modifications are not retroactive. Therefore, if a judge issues a new support order, the parent required to pay child support does not have to pay the increased amount dating back to the filing of the petition to modify.
The law against retroactive child support could significantly prejudice the parent receiving the payment. It can take several months or longer for a child support case to reach a hearing, leaving the receiving parent with little choice but to wait for the final decision, even if they greatly need increased child support. As such, it is essential to work with a diligent attorney in Hamilton County who could pursue the child support modification quickly and ensure that all documentation has been timely submitted.
Life moves forward after a child support case ends. As such, you may experience changes in your life that require adjusting child support. Similarly, your co-parent might request a support change, leaving you to defend against a motion to modify.
If you face a legal dispute about your child’s financial support, seek help from a capable Hamilton County child support modification lawyer. Our dedicated legal team is well-versed in the laws governing modification requests and could work to ensure the adjusted child support amount continues to meet your child’s needs.