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Child Support Attorney in Knoxville & Farragut, Tennessee

Any family that has gone through a divorce knows how difficult it can be to restructure everyone’s lives, especially children’s. Typically, when child custody is decided, you’ll also determine whether any child support needs to be provided. Although it’s not always necessary to provide child support, it will help ensure your child’s needs are still being met regardless of what parent they’re living with.

Unfortunately, even though these child support payments are mandated by the court, only 43.5% of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support they’re due from the non-custodial parent. Because of this, many parents find it necessary to enlist the help of a divorce attorney.

Divorcing with children is a difficult and stressful time under the best of circumstances, and you have to make sure your kids have the emotional and financial support they need. If you’d like help establishing child support payments or modifying existing arrangements, call the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed today to set up a consultation. We proudly serve clients in Knoxville, Farragut, and the surrounding counties of Anderson, Blount, Union, Maryville, Oak Ridge, and Clinton, Tennessee.

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Understanding Child Support in Tennessee

When a couple with children divorces in Tennessee, they are both still financially responsible for their children. Child support is not automatically awarded but will be necessary under certain conditions. There are three main factors that a judge will look at when deciding whether child support is warranted: the number of children each parent must provide for, the combined incomes of the parents, and how much time each parent spends with the child.

In many custody agreements, there is one parent who has primary residential custody, and this parent usually receives a monthly payment from the noncustodial parent. The state has outlined guidelines that parents can use to determine how much money they will need to pay or will be receiving, although if they mutually agree to another amount, a court will generally approve it.

These guidelines use each parent’s adjusted gross income (AGI) to come up with a total amount that both parents make together. Then, each parent’s obligation to pay is typically proportional to how much they contributed to the joint AGI. However, if the parents are splitting custody equally (known as joint custody or equal parenting), you may need to negotiate a different child support arrangement to reflect the expenses each parent will have while with their children.

In most cases, payments are made through income withholding where the paying parent’s employer will withhold a predetermined amount and send it to the state. The state’s Child Support Disbursement Unit is then responsible for sending the monthly payments to the other parent, usually in the form of a debit card that new funds are added to each month. This can help ensure that payments are complete and received on time, but other arrangements are also possible.

Modifying an Existing Arrangement

There are many reasons why you may need a child support modification. If the parenting time schedule changes, if one parent experiences a significant change in employment, if the child has a significant change in their needs such as becoming disabled, or if one parent gets remarried or has another child, you may need to reevaluate how much child support is needed. If both parents agree to a modification, they can generally submit the new arrangement to the court, and if the needs of the child are still being met, it will likely be approved.

However, each parent also has the right to request a review of the existing arrangement if they feel a change is necessary. The requesting parent will often need to provide documentation that the change in finances is “significant.” In some instances, modification reviews will happen every three years even if no request has been made.

Termination of Child Support

There will always come a time when child support will need to end. Note that even when child support ends, the paying parent will still be accountable for paying any missed payments. Termination of child support usually occurs when the child turns 18 or until they complete high school. The only exceptions are:

  • Emancipation by a court order

  • Parental rights are terminated by the State of Tennessee

  • There is an adoption, usually by a step-parent

Child Support Attorney Serving Knoxville & Farragut, Tennessee

If you’re concerned about how much child support you will pay or receive, or if you feel that your current arrangement needs to be modified, you should contact a divorce attorney for assistance. At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, we can help out at any level to make sure your family is getting the care and support they deserve. If you’re in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, call us today to get started.