Parents are required to support their children financially under Tennessee law. The obligation usually ends when the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school. If you are a parent who is not receiving sufficient financial support from the other parent, a parent unclear on your child support obligations, or you are going through a divorce and child support will be set by the court, a divorce or "child support" attorney can provide invaluable assistance. Child support is not simply a matter of agreeing to a dollar figure with the other parent and informal agreements reached out of court carry the risk of enormous problems for years to come. If a parent fails to timely pay the correct amount of child support, a judgment for the arrearage can be entered along with awards for interest and attorney's fees. And in cases where a parent willfully fails to pay child support ordered by the court, contempt of court and jail time are added risks. If you find yourself in one of these situations, you should look for the best child support attorney near you. It is a worthwhile expense that could save you greater expense down the road.
Child support determinations almost always begin with an analysis of a parent’s potential obligations under the state’s child support guidelines. The guidelines can be found here. The guidelines are intended to set a minimum level of support. In order to determine the amount of monthly child support under the guidelines, information must be entered into a worksheet. The parents will need to provide figures for their monthly income, health insurance expenses for the child, work-related daycare expenses, number of days each year spent with the child, etc. The calculation will result in a number for the total amount of monthly support needed for the child which will then be divided between the parents. An attorney who regularly handles child support can make this difficult task much easier for you.
Deviations are permitted from the guidelines under limited circumstances. However, the court must have evidence before a deviation can be permitted. This would be another situation where the aid of a child support lawyer can be crucial. The lawyer will know what evidence is important to the court and how to present the case for a deviation in an effective manner.
A child support order that was fair when it was entered may not be fair as time goes on. Tennessee courts retain the authority to modify a child support order at any time while there is a duty of support. Events that might justify a modification could be things like an increase or decrease in parental income, a disability suffered by a parent, recurring medical expenses of the child not covered by insurance or a significant change in the amout of parenting time. An attorney with experience in child support cases can help you determine whether a modification is warranted.