As a single parent, you need an attorney’s help in a lot of ways. Sometimes, your earnings and expenses change, and you may not know what to do. You don’t have to wait until an action is taken against you to act. It is advisable to contact a Tennessee family law attorney whenever you face a hurdle in your co-parenting journey.
An upcoming child support hearing can be stressful, especially when you do not know what to expect. However, you do not have to panic if you are working with experienced family law attorneys in Kingston, TN, bringing skill and knowledge to your case.
What Principles Guide Child Support in Tennessee?
The calculation procedure and child support laws are the same for unwed parents, divorced, and divorcing parents.
Here is what child support seeks to achieve in Tennessee:
- To reduce cases of impoverished kids in single-parent homes
- To make child support more equitable
- Consistent treatment for people in similar circumstances
- Consideration for what the child needs
- Encouraging the alternative residential parent to retain contact with the child after spousal separation
- Ensure that the child shares in the higher standard of living that one parent enjoys
What Information Should I Provide While Filing a Child Support Petition?
Specific courts have specific requirements for filing the child support motion, petition, or complaint. An experienced is conversant with the specifics and can guide you properly. But generally, this is the information you will need to fill out:
- The name of the court
- Children’s names
- Children’s dates of birth
- Parents’ names
- Parents’ residences
- The legal status of the parents (unmarried, divorcing, or divorced)
- The parent with the primary residential status
- The parent with the alternative residential status
- The need for support
- An allegation for a parent’s ability to provide support
- A request for a child support award
Is a Formal Court Hearing Mandatory for Child Support Cases?
You and your co-parent don’t have to appear at a formal court hearing if you can reach an agreement. You simply have to fill out the required paperwork like the and wait for the court’s approval of the settlement.
An agreement can save you the emotional toll that is common in most court processes. You also save on costs and can be in control of the outcome. Remember that the judge can overrule the child support agreement if it does not agree with the amount or if the parties made a legal mistake. It is always advisable to have a child support lawyer for guidance.
Should I be Concerned if I Cannot Ascertain the Other Parent’s Income?
The family court uses evidence of documents like check stubs and tax returns to determine a parent’s ability to support their child. But if such records cannot be found, the annual income will be set at $26,989.00 for mothers and $36,369.00 for fathers – at the initial order.
After the initial order, the parent’s share of Basic Child Support Obligation (BCSO) may be increased by up to 10% a year – since the year it was last modified. So, there is no need to worry if you and your Kingston child support attorney cannot find evidence of the other parent’s income.
What Should I Do if My Ex is Working Under the Table and Not Paying Child Support?
Some parents claim to be earning a minimum wage but acquire assets that don’t match the declared income. For instance, an ex-spouse that comes to pick the children with a new BMW can warrant cross-examination from a forensic accountant. It can mean that the documentation they tabled is unreliable.
An experienced family law attorney can help you file an action to enforce child support. The court may compel the production of income information through a subpoena – and your bank or former employer will have to produce the statements.
How is Income Calculated for Self-Employed Parents?
Reviewing tax returns is usually the first step in income determination. However, the amount of income listed in a parent’s federal income tax return may not be used in the child support case.
Here are other considerations for self-employed parents:
- Only reasonable and ordinary expenses should be deducted from the rental property or business operations income.
- Unreasonable expenses include the excessive cost of home office operations, depreciation on equipment, personal expenses, car expenses, travel expenses, and promotional expenses.
- Other unreasonable expenses are accelerated investment tax credits and depreciation approved by the Internal Revenue Service.
- If the fringe benefits received in business operation, trade, or employment reduced the parent’s cost of living, it is considered income. “In-kind” remuneration includes company boarding room, housing, or a car.
- The gross income will include variable income received over some time, such as dividends, overtime pay, bonuses, and commissions.
Can a Parent Get a Child Support Reduction If They Take a Pay Cut?
If a parent decides to quit employment or get a pay cut voluntarily, the court will calculate their child support obligation based on their potential earnings – based on their work experience and the level of education. This subject is complex, and the judge’s decision depends on the specific situation.
A professional leaving employment to start their own practice cannot be allowed to pay less in child support. But a parent who leaves a job for another that pays less but has greater income growth potential can be allowed to pay a reduced amount in child support. Speak to a skilled family lawyer in Tennessee if you have concerns about willful underemployment or unemployment.
Legal Guidance from a Knowledgeable Legal Expert
A child support hearing can impact your life significantly because one can actually go to jail if they fail to meet their obligations. The worst mistake a parent can make is agreeing to an amount they cannot afford to pay at the end of the month.
A child support lawyer in Kingston and Crossville, TN, can help you gather all the evidence needed to calculate your actual ability to meet your child support obligation. And if you are not receiving the court-ordered child support from the other parent, our lawyer can also ensure that they are held responsible. to start your strategy session today!