“The Right Experience & Compassion For Your Child Support Matter”
Memphis Child Support Attorney
Every parent in Tennessee is presumed to have an obligation to support and care for the physical needs of the child. This presumption continues even if the parents are not married or are married and divorce. In fact, the question of child support can be raised in a divorce lawsuit, paternity suit, and/or legal separation action. Even though both parents have an obligation to support their children, a child support order will in almost every instance require one party to pay an amount designated as child support to the other parent.
Child support is typically calculated according to a statutory formula designed to take a lot of the “guesswork” out of how much child support should be ordered in any given situation. However, legal counsel is necessary to ensure the guidelines are followed and/or the court appropriately considers the specific facts and circumstances present in any given case. Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, your Memphis child support attorneys can assure this happens.
Basics of Tennessee Child Support Calculations
In an appropriate action in which child support is at issue, the calculation of child support begins with each parent completing a child support worksheet. These worksheets require each parent to provide information about his or her monthly gross income and the combined gross income of the couple. (Each parent is assigned a percentage of the total income of the couple: for example, if the mother has an adjusted gross income of $3,000 and the father has an adjusted gross income of $2,000, the mother will be said to have 60% of the couple’s adjusted gross income and the father will have 40% of the couple’s adjusted gross income.)
The worksheet will also consider whether either parent pays a health insurance premium for the child, pays out-of-pocket medical expenses for the child, and/or pays for childcare expenses or other expenses for the child. Using all this information, the guidelines will establish a presumptive child support amount for the parents. The non-custodial parent will be required to pay his or her percentage of the child support amount. (For example, using the parents’ situation above, if the total child support amount is $200 per month and the father is the noncustodial parent, the father will be responsible for paying the mother 40% of that $200 per month figure (or $80 per month)).
This is just a very brief overview of the process of calculating child support obligations in Tennessee. The guidelines direct that courts take the financial situation (including the source of income) of each parent as well as the expenses of the parents into account when determining the appropriate child support amount under the guidelines.
When a Court Can Deviate from the Guidelines
The child support guidelines are designed to prevent a situation in which two sets of similarly-situated parents are ordered to pay vastly different child support amounts. In most cases, therefore, courts will follow the presumed child support amounts established by the guidelines. However, for compelling reasons, the court may depart from the guidelines and require the noncustodial parent to pay a different child support amount. The situations justifying a departure from the presumed child support amount are rare, so it is beneficial to consult with an experienced child support attorney when a support amount is being calculated.
Consult with a Seasoned Memphis Child Support Lawyer
The knowledgeable Tennessee child support attorneys at Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, are able to assist you in obtaining child support from the other parent of your child. We can also assist you if child support is being sought from you as we can help ensure the court calculates the appropriate amount of child support. Contact them today to discuss your case and circumstances by calling (901) 388-5805.