Raising a child in today's economy can be overwhelming, especially when you are a single parent. Many single parents in Hamilton County depend on their monthly child support payments to make ends meet, and to give their children everything they need to live comfortably. Determining the appropriate amount of child support needed is the responsibility of the state. In some cases, the amount of child support that is ordered isn't enough to cover all of the expenses. In other cases, the child support payments never come. The Tennessee Department of Human Services is responsible for handling the outcomes of such situations.
It is the responsibility and obligation of both parents to care for the children involved, even if they have separated or divorced. Here are some key details to keep in mind when establishing child support.
Paternity must be established before child support can be determined. In some cases, finding the father is as easy as looking on the birth certificate. Determining paternity may prove to be more difficult in cases where unwed mothers aren't sure exactly who the father is or if the father objects to his role in the child's life. If the father fully acknowledges the child to be their own, they can easily sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity document. In situations where the case isn't as clear, paternity testing may be ordered by the courts.
Paternity tests are carried out by swabbing the tissue located on the inside of the cheek on the father, mother and child. The individuals do not need to be together to carry out the testing, enabling people in different geographical locations to still get tested.
Calculating child support
In Tennessee, child support is determined based on the amount of income shares the parent has. The income shares are determined by the gross income amount of each parent, as well as some other important details. Some of the topics considered when calculating child support are as follows:
- The amount of time each parent spends with the child.
- Adjusted monthly gross income of each parent.
- Other children that may be living with the parent, either full or part-time.
- The Child Support Schedule will list the Basic Child Support Obligation, such as split parenting, standard parenting or equal parenting, taking the adjusted gross income and the number of children being supported into account.
- Other expenses, such as insurance, medical expenses, daycare and schooling are considered as well.
If the calculated amount of child support is deemed insufficient by the parent, an appeals process may take place. It is essential to have a reputable family law attorney walk you through this process to ensure the best outcome possible.
The importance of establishing child support
When a child has been raised on the combined finances of both the mother and father, it may be difficult to continue to care for the child with just a portion of those finances. Child support helps to bridge the gap between being raised by a single-parent with limited funds, to having enough funds to give your child the kind of lifestyle that they have become accustomed to throughout the years.
As circumstances change, the amount of child support may to be adjusted. Child support modification can be initiated by either parent, and entails a court-ordered adjustment be made to the current amount of child support. Keep in mind that the responsibility of child support cannot be deferred or abolished when filing for bankruptcy.
Call for Help
Going through the child support process and appeals process can be extremely stressful. With so many worksheets and forms to fill out, it is important that you have every detail in place to avoid having your case or appeal overlooked or denied. A knowledgeable family law attorney has the experience necessary to maximize your child support benefits, ensuring that your child is taken care of properly.