Legal Question in Family Law in Tennessee

should i be getting more child support?

Have son age 8, result of an affair, father is married. Father has paid child support since age 3. Not before then. Father is millionaire, makes over 800k per year, lives extravagantly. He pays 6000.00 per month child support. Refused to put him in will or set up college fund,etc. I pay everything...all insurance, living costs, extracurricular. Father has NO contact with child...refuses to acknowledge him. Should he be paying more since he is so wealthy? Can I get him to pay for college? Original agreement says that he won't. Can I get back child support for the 3 years he didn't pay. I thought he was going to have a relationship w/ my son so I didn't push it at the time...but he hasn't seen him in 5 yrs. We can't depend on him for any future needs of my son. What advice can you give me? thanks!

Asked on 9/10/03, 12:29 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys

Maryland Bankruptcy MarylandBankruptcy

Re: should i be getting more child support?

See, maybe they can help.

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Answered on 9/10/03, 12:35 pm
David Waldrop Holley, Waldrop, Nearn & Lazarov P.C.

Re: should i be getting more child support?

Under the Tennessee child support guidelines, you are entitled to 21% of the net income. However, there is a limit up to $10,136 which would be $2,167 per month. Anything above this amount must be on the basis of need or the funds deposited into an education trust fund for the child. You should be able to go back and get the back support. However, this should have been done when the support was orignally set. I would need to see your order to further address your concerns.

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Answered on 9/10/03, 1:29 pm
David Bulitt Joseph, Greenwald & Laake

Re: should i be getting more child support?

First question is whether you and your child live in Tennessee or Maryland. THe answers to your questions may very well differ form State to State. If Maryland is the appropriate jurisdiction, you may very well be entitled to additional child support; we would have to review your respective financial conditions and the needs of your child. There are a plethora of factors that may impact his child support obligation. However, absent an agreement to the contrary, it is unlikely that you can obligate him for college expenses.

I am happy to discuss this wth you further.If interested, contact my legal assistant, Olga Beale, and she will set a conveniet time for us to meet or talk over the phone.

Good luck.


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Answered on 9/10/03, 2:44 pm
G. Joseph Holthaus III Law Offices of G. Joseph Holthaus

Re: Should I be Getting More Child Support from My Child's Rich Father?

I refer to the answer provided by the attorney in Tennessee as to the effect of the law of that state. I am a Maryland attorney and, accordingly, speak to Maryland law. But, a precautionary word, jurisdication as to the child and the matters of support is deserving of inquiry and the analysis of an attorney. I encourage you to pursue this matter.

The remainder of my response assumes Maryland jurisdiction which may or may not be the case.

Maryland's child support statute is formula driven. It is a proportional income shares method and is somewhat complex. Based on the assumed disparity in income, he MOST LIKELY WILL have to pay more than he is currently paying. His income is well and above the level of Maryland's formula. Thus, equity and reasonableness apply and you would be best served by the skill of an attorney with this matter. Basically Maryland's formula caps off based on income levels of the general public and his income is beyond the level established under Maryland's formula.

Maryland law sets forth that agreements as to child support are not binding. The Maryland courts retain continuing jurisdiction over the child and the matter of support once it is established in the courts of Maryland. Any agreement as to child support can be modified by the court as to "care, custody, education or support of any minor child if such a modification would be in the best interests of the child". Note, however, that the court's power is limited to 'minor children'. This is not to say that a judge in Maryland would not see the disparity and provide for support that would avail you to save for your child's college education. It is my belief that every child should be able to pursue education to the maximum extent possible based upon their circumstance and many judges feel the same.

Agreements as to college education can be enforced through other aspects of Maryland law. Even if he and you have entered an agreement that precludes college, this agreement may be subject to modification or possibly rescission. Equitable matters may also apply in full or in part to this matter.

As if the above information isn't enough to confuse the average layman (and I wish I could make it easier for you), there also lies an issue with conflict in state laws. Here the Maryland Uniform Interstate Family Support Act would apply (this act supplants URESA from its enactment in 1951).

My best statement with your question is that you and your child are best assisted through the assistance of an attorney. Nothing short of skilled legal representation will bring the results that are in the best interests of your child. You can spend alot of time searching through the internet but nothing compares to the application of the learned skill of an attorney to your specific factual circumstance.

Joe Holthaus

(410) 799-9002

[email protected]

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Answered on 9/11/03, 10:35 pm
Carolyn Press Chung & Press. P.C.

Re: should i be getting more child support?

The information received does not make it clear whether the court with jurisdiction over child suppot is in Tennessee or Maryland. Every state has a formula for calculating child support, but they are not all the same. In Maryland the formula is based on the incomes of the two parents, unless the combined incomes exceed $10,000/month. You indicate that the father's income is over $800,000/year, which would be over $66,666/month. You do not indicate what your own income is. Maryland law establishes child support of $1040/month, pro-rated between the parents, for a combined monthly income of $10,000 (this combined income figure is the net after reduction for the cost of supporting other children either parent may have, certain necessary expenses related to the acquiring of the income, and the cost, if any, of providing health insurance for the child). You can see that by Maryland law the child support is approximately ten per cent of the income. The father of your child is paying somewhat, but not a lot, less than 10% of his income for your child.

Since the father's level of income greatly exceeds the level at which specific child support is mandated, the law says that the court has the discretion to determine what is appropriate. In situations like yours the judge may consider not just gross income but net income after taxes, business and professional expenses, as well as other dependents of the father. I do not believe that the court is likely to significantly increase the support, although if the child were to have substantial medical expenses they very likely would find that the father should be contributing to payment of those expenses. As for the three years before support started, the court can not order support for any time before the date on which you first filed for support. And the father has no legal obligation to provide support after the boy reaches the age of eighteen. Since you are receiving 72,000 free of all taxes each year, I hope you are saving some of it in a college fund for your son. It may be a good thing that your son does not know his father, since he can't compare the things which he has to the things which his father has and feel deprived.

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Answered on 9/13/03, 4:14 pm

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