Child Support

Knoxville Child Support Lawyers

Helping you make sure your children get what they need to be successful

Kids cost money: who needs braces, who needs new soccer cleats, which one needs a new jacket, who’s ready for piano lessons. Once they hit about 12, they will eat you out of house and home too.

That’s what child support is all about: helping you cover the costs of raising healthy, growing children. (They’re like WEEDS, aren’t they? Didn’t you just buy new shoes last week?) This is important stuff and we know it. LaFevor & Slaughter has more than 38 years of legal experience helping parents get the support they need to raise their kids. Our thorough preparation assures that not only will we get the numbers right, we’ll tell your story to the court – because you’re a family and not just another case. Call our Knoxville child support lawyers today so we can help you get started.

How does child support work in Knoxville?

All children have the right to financial support from their parents. Tennessee calculates child support according to state guidelines, using a formula based on income and number of children. Other factors can also come into play, which we’ll talk about in a minute. What’s important to remember, though, is that just because there’s a child support calculator, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for unfair or incorrect child support payments.

In most cases, one parent pays child support to the other. The parent who has primary custody, or who cares for the child the majority of the time, typically gets child support from the other. This is because the custodial parent is already providing financial support the majority of the time, which is a pretty sensible rule.

What factors do the court consider when determining child support?

In addition to child support calculators and worksheets, the court takes other variables into account, too. These include:

  • Your child’s financial needs
  • Your child’s current standard of living
  • Your child’s age and health
  • Both parent’s financial and non-financial contributions
  • Your child’s educational needs
  • Each parent’s income and earning capacity
  • Visitation schedule of non-custodial parent

One parent might also be obligated to pay the child’s health insurance through their work benefits.

How long does child support last in Tennessee?

Usually, child support payments stop when a child graduates high school, or when their class graduates. If your child isn’t in school, payments will terminate on their 18th birthday. However, and trust us here, a parent can’t just stop making payments on their kid’s birthday or graduation day. Never stop making child support payments without checking with your attorney first. There are very few circumstances where a judge will take your side on this, so call us at LaFevor & Slaughter when there any issues with your child support and we’ll help you get things in order.

What happens if a parent doesn’t pay child support?

Although child support, like alimony, is paid by one spouse to another, the real beneficiary of the payment is your child, who has a personal right to be supported by both parents. For that reason, parents can’t settle child support in advance, as they might with a guardianship as part of estate planning or in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

It might be hard, but parents can’t keep fighting over petty stuff; they have to rise above it for the good of their children. You can’t just stop paying ‘cause you’re mad at your ex. Instead, call your divorce attorney, who can make sure the court knows that your ex is acting the fool. The possible consequences for not paying child support include:

  • Liens on property
  • Lowered credit score
  • Restrictions on passports
  • Seizing tax refunds
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Wage garnishment
  • Jail time
  • Being held in contempt

Some of our clients ask if they can deny visitation if the other parent hasn’t paid child support. This is a big no! Although it might feel fair – no payment, no visit – custody and support are two separate orders and both parents are obligated to follow them.

However, in really extreme circumstances, the court may revoke that parent’s right to visitation. If that’s happening to you, call us and we can explain what to do next.

If I lose my job, do I still have to pay child support?

You do, but don’t panic. If you lose your job and you’re responsible for child support, you’re gonna have to act fast. You can file for a modification of your support order with the court to have your payments modified. We can help with this, so get in touch as soon as you can so there’s no disruption in your payments. Other instances where you might need to modify a child support order include if:

  • Your child becomes disabled or ill
  • One parent’s income decreases significantly
  • Your child’s health insurance payments change significantly
  • Child care costs increase
  • One of your children move in or out
  • One of you has another child

We can look at your circumstances and advise if your situation warrants a modification.

Child Support Questions

Is there a maximum child support amount in Tennessee?

Although child support is determined through a formula, it caps at $10,000 a month. The primary custodial parent will have to prove need if they want support to go over this amount. Generally, the maximum child support a Knoxville parent will receive looks like this:

  • One child – $2,100 per month
  • Two children – $3,200 per month
  • Three children – $4,100 per month
  • Four children – $4,600 per month
  • Five or more children – $5,000 per month

If you need additional support, we can help you build a case that advocates for the needs of your children to ensure a happy and thriving life.

Some other stuff you can read about child support:

Thorough, reliable Knoxville child support attorneys advocating for your kids

The Knoxville child support lawyers at LaFevor & Slaughter are dedicated to helping families come to mutually beneficial solutions under difficult circumstances. Trust us to represent the best interests of your child and your family – we understand how emotional these issues can be and we’re here to walk you through. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at (865) 637-6258 or fill out our contact form today.