The DC Child Support Guideline provides the framework for child support calculations. However, the Statute allows for departure from the guideline-calculated amount and several exceptions apply. For example, each party may receive credit for a minor child in his or her care, credit for medical coverage, extraordinary household expenses, etc.
It is particularly important to have the assistance of an experienced Washington DC child support lawyer to properly apply the guideline to your case and to make sure all appropriate departures from the guideline are credited to your statutory obligation.
As the child support amount continues until the age of 21, it is essential to have a thorough analysis early on to make sure your child support obligations are not exceeding the guideline amount and that all applicable credits are applied. The child support calculations drastically reduces if the child is in your care for 35% or more of the allotted times as presumption of joint custody applies.
Thus in some aspects the child support liability and the physical custody interrelate and it is paramount to settle both cases if applicable simultaneously. Moreover often times modifications to the child support obligations are necessary when there are changes in circumstances, that is, financial and employment changes, geographical moves, placement changes, or increased physical custody.
It is important to highlight that establishment of legal paternity is prerequisite to any imposition of child support obligation. In the District, if you have been named in the birth certificate then paternity is legally established even if there is error and later it is determined that there is no genetic or biological link.
There are limited circumstances in which legal paternity through birth certificate can be challenged. If not listed on birth certificate, then it is prudent to request and obtain genetic testing to establish paternity. Acknowledging paternity on the record at the outset of child support legal proceedings without the benefit of DNA testing could be another irreversible legal error.
Below are some of online resources pertinent to paternity and support including list of sample legal forms and motions from the DC Bar Pro Bono relating to paternity and support, the DC child support calculator, and the Child support Guidelines:
• Petition to Establish Paternity and/or for Child Support
• Answer to Petition to Establish Paternity and/or for Child Support
• Motion to Intervene in Child Support Case
• Motion to Modify Child Support Order
• Motion for Contempt (Child Support Order)
• Motion for Use in a Paternity or Child Support Case
• Opposition to Motion (Paternity or Child Support Case)
It is paramount to have the assistance of an expert family law DC child support lawyer before committing to a child support sum either as a receiver of the sum or one who is under obligation to pay child support.
Contact our family law DC child support lawyers today for a detailed evaluation and assessment of your child support obligations.