Navigating the Child Support Process in Nashville

Protecting your rights during child support proceedings

The Tennessee child support system was designed to be simple and predictable, using an” income shares” model that uses both parents incomes and a number of other factors to establish equitable support obligations. However sometimes even straightforward cases can be become muddled when one parent attempts to conceal or minimize income. In other cases, special circumstances may warrant greater court discretion and a deviation from the guidelines. Whatever the case may be, both obligors and obligees risk receiving unfair and inaccurate child support determinations without an experienced attorney looking out for his or her interests. Our Nashville lawyers at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC have practiced extensively in the areas of child support establishment and modification.

Tennessee child support guidelines

Both biological parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for his or her children. For noncustodial parents, this usually comes in the form of child support paid until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school with the class of which the child was a member when he or she turned 18, whichever occurs last. In Tennessee, courts are required to use the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines to determine this obligation, assisted by a child support calculator which uses both parties’ incomes and a number of other factors in order to arrive at the correct child support amount.

Deviating from the standard guidelines

Divorcing or separating parents are free to negotiate child support payments in excess of the statutory guidelines for submission as part of his or her parenting plans. A Tennessee court may also exercise its discretion to depart from the guidelines if one or more of the supported children have special educational or medical needs. In these cases, the obligee parent must be able to provide adequate proof of these expenses and needs.

The court may also exercise its discretion in cases in which the child support obligor remains willfully unemployed or underemployed or underreports income. In cases in which the obligor’s income is not in line with his or her age, health, training and work experience or when his or her assets exceed what would be reasonable considering the income reported, the court may impute income to the obligor and calculate a support obligation based on that amount.

Civil and criminal contempt for failure to pay child support

Because failing to pay child support involves disregarding a court order, it can be regarded as a civil or criminal contempt, which can lead to incarceration. There are also other state and federal punishment remedies for failing to pay child support. Whether clients are attempting to collect the child support he or she desperately need to care for their child, or whether they are defending themselves against false accusations that have led to a contempt Petition, we offer supportive and attentive counsel that always protects the client’s interests.

Call us today if you are involved in child support proceedings

At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, our attorneys have represented parents on both sides of support proceedings during both initial determinations and subsequent modification and enforcement proceedings. If you are suing or being sued for child support or contempt, or are seeking to modify an established order in Nashville, contact us today at 615-391-4200 or online to schedule an in-person or video consultation at our Nashville office.