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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Important matters related to child support

Although both parents have an obligation to support their children until they reach the age of majority, the issue can become challenging if paternity has not been established. Tennessee courts might need to be involved if a father refuses to acknowledge paternity. If the parents of a child are married at the time of that child's birth, the husband will be presumed to be the father. However, an estimated 40 percent of children throughout the nation are actually born without the parents being married.

Once paternity has been determined, a child support order can be issued. Experts advise that support be handled through the local office responsible for enforcing child support activity. This provides both parties with protection, including the documentation of compliance and access to helpful collection resources in cases of nonpayment. Failure to keep up with child support obligations could lead to serious measures being taken, including the garnishment of wages or interception of tax refunds. Consequences can be as serious as facing criminal charges and serving time in jail.

Either parent could be required to pay child support based on the details of their relationship and custody agreement. If a father has primary physical custody, for example, then a mother might be required to pay support. A serious change in income could affect an individual's ability to keep up with their court-ordered support, which may require a modification by the court system to avoid facing legal problems connected with noncompliance.

People may need to seek a modification of the ordered amount when something unexpected happens, such as a job loss, that affects their financial situation. Attorneys will remind their clients that a modification, if granted, applies only prospectively and has no effect on delinquent payments.

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