Child Support Lawyers in Middletown, DE

Child Support Is The Law In Middletown

Child support is a critical aspect of family law that ensures the financial well-being of children after the dissolution of a marriage or separation of parents. In Middletown and throughout Delaware, child support laws are designed to protect the best interests of the child and promote fairness in financial obligations.

Schmittinger & Rodriguez has decades of experience as family law and child support lawyers in Middletown. We understand the complexities of child support issues and are dedicated to helping our clients navigate the child support process involved to secure the appropriate support for their children, enforce an existing child support order, or seek a child support modification. Your legal needs will be addressed by compassionate and experienced lawyers who understand that this legal issue can be stressful and urgent to resolve.

 

What Is Child Support?

Child support is a court-ordered financial contribution made by one parent to the other parent or custodial guardian to help cover the expenses of raising a child or children. The purpose of child support is to ensure that both parents share the responsibility of providing for their children’s basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care.

In Delaware, child support matters are governed by the Delaware Child Support Formula (also known as the Melson Formula), which considers various factors to calculate the appropriate amount of child support to be paid.

Some of the key factors considered in the formula include:

  1. Each parent’s income: The court will assess the gross income of both parents, including wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, and other sources of income.

  2. Custodial arrangements: The amount of time the child spends with each parent (physical custody) will be taken into account to determine the level of financial responsibility for each parent.

  3. Child-related expenses: The court considers additional costs related to childcare, health insurance premiums, and extraordinary medical expenses.

  4. Other children: If either parent has children from previous relationships who are also receiving child support, the court will consider these obligations.

  5. Childcare and medical expenses: The court may allocate a portion of childcare and health insurance expenses to each parent based on their income.

Once a child support order is established, the non-custodial parent is legally obligated to make regular payments to the custodial parent or the state’s child support agency, depending on the case’s circumstances. Failure to comply with a child support order can result in various enforcement measures, such as wage garnishment, suspension of driver’s licenses, and other legal consequences. It’s important to note that child support orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or custodial arrangements.

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Contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, we understand how difficult and stressful it can be to deal with a family law matter. It can be traumatic and emotionally charged.

Our team has decades of combined experience handling family law issues. We have a deep understanding of Delaware law and will provide dedicated legal representation throughout your case. Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing you with personalized attention and will fight hard to get you the best possible outcome for your case. If you or someone you love has a family law matter, contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez today and let us help you through this difficult time. We will work hard to get you the justice, security, and peace of mind that you deserve.

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What Our Clients Say

Brian Jenkins
2023-10-05
Mr Catts went above and beyond to handle my complicated case. The level of professionalism is second to none. The staff and Mr. Catts were kind, courteous, and listened to my concerns with compassion. I would recomend this firm to anyone needing legal help. They earned my trust in am amazing way.
Linda Wilson
2023-10-04
Mr Catts and his legal team went above and beyond for me. They never stopped pursuing all avenues to get the compensation that I deserved. The staff was courteous and showed compassion. I felt like they really cared about my injuries. I highly recommend their services to anyone
Tatiana Sida-Amor
2023-09-17
I was recommended to this law office by my doctor after my car accident in the summer of 2021. I ended up working with Mr. Catts. I appreciate how forthcoming and hardworking he was about my case. The office is extremely professional to ensure that I got the best settlement that I could get. The open communication eased my mind and allowed me to handle things I needed to for myself. Definitely recommend them if you want lawyers that give you results.
Kathyjo Mays
2023-09-07
I recommend them highly and have referred them to many of my friends and family. Very informative and def kept me up to date about my case. Schmittinger & Rodriguez def worked very hard for me.
Mary Zober
2023-09-06
The staff is friendly and makes you feel comfortable. The firm worked on getting my settlement and kept me informed every step of the way.
Sharonda goode
2023-08-15
Great experience! Doug Catts, Ryan and Ms. Kaye are awesome to work with. Very professional, friendly & knowledgeable. They are expensive. But get the job done & in a timely manner. I use Mr. Catts for all my legal needs.
Hot Box237
2023-08-15
I will recommend this lawyer to any one, I feel like crying. He is kind, patient and a good listener. He solved your problem and at the end advice you. Thank you very much.
Cheryl Rowe
2023-08-15
Doug is personable…assertive and he will get the job done!
Patsy Ware
2023-08-14
Schmittinger and Rodriquez attorney Doug Catts is the best, I highly recommend him. As an attorney he is forthright, honest, transparent and sincere. Doug Catts and his staff are amazing.

Types of Support

There are two main types of child support in Delaware: basic support and additional expenses.

Basic support

Includes costs related to the child’s shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities.

Additional expenses

May include childcare, medical expenses, educational expenses, and extracurricular activities.

The court considers these factors when determining the overall child support obligation. You and your child support lawyer will evaluate these factors and costs when seeking from the family court an order to pay support.

How Child Support Is Calculated

In Delaware, child support matters are governed by the Delaware Child Support Formula (also known as the Melson Formula). These child support guidelines consider various factors to calculate the appropriate amount of child support to be paid.

The three basic principles of the Melson formula are:

  1. Parents are entitled to sufficient income to meet their basic needs;

  2. Parents shouldn’t be permitted to retain more income than required to meet their basic needs; and

  3. The child(ren) are entitled to share in any additional income and benefit from a noncustodial parent’s higher standard of living.

Child support is calculated based primarily on a parent’s net available income. A parent’s net available income is determined by taking the parent’s monthly gross income and subtracting taxes, other allowable deductions, and a self-support allowance. In most cases, there will be several factors your Delaware child support lawyer and the family court order will have to consider.

What Qualifies as Income?

The following qualify as income or income-related for purposes of determining child support arrangements:

  • Monthly gross income: A combination of the parents’ income including parent’s wages, such as salaries, commissions, bonuses, and other income. Other sources of income include those that are earned as an independent contractor, all unearned taxable income, and other income that isn’t subject to income tax.

  • Taxes: Both parents’ federal and state taxes are taken into account.

  • Other allowable deductions: Medical insurance, pensions, union dues, disability insurance, any court-ordered alimony payments to the other parent, and other allowable business expenses qualify as other allowable deductions.

  • Self-support allowance: The minimum amount of income necessary for a parent to remain productive in a workplace qualifies as a parent’s self-support allowance.

Calculating child support payments in any child support case can be complex. Depending on all the facts and circumstances, your child support attorney and possibly other financial experts will work to determine the proper child support amount you should be paid.

Mediation or Litigation

When it comes to child support disputes, parents have the option to resolve their issues through mediation or litigation. Mediation is a voluntary process that allows parents to work together with the assistance of a neutral third party to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on child support. It encourages open communication and collaboration to find a solution that meets the needs of both the child and the parents.

On the other hand, if mediation is not successful or not suitable for the situation, litigation may be necessary. In court, each parent presents their case, and the judge makes a final determination on child support based on the evidence presented by the child support attorneys.

Modification of Child Support

Child support orders are not fixed; they can be modified when there are significant changes in circumstances. If there has been a substantial alteration in income, employment status, or the child’s needs, it may be possible to request a modification of the child support order.

Your child support lawyers can navigate you through the process of seeking a modification while safeguarding your child’s best interests and ensuring that the responsible party continues paying child support.

Why Schmittinger & Rodriguez
Is Right For You

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, we understand how difficult and stressful this legal process can be. Our experienced Middletown child support lawyers are committed to providing you with personalized attention and will fight hard to get you the best possible outcome for your case. If you or someone you love has a child support issue, contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez today for a free consultation so that we can help you obtain justice and fair compensation for your losses. YOUR CASE. OUR PRIORITY.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support?

If the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support as ordered, there are enforcement mechanisms in place to ensure compliance. These can include wage garnishment, interception of tax refunds, suspension of driver's licenses or professional licenses, and other legal actions to collect past-due child support.

Can child support be terminated when the child turns 18?

 

In Delaware, child support generally continues until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, if the child has special needs or requires ongoing support, child support may continue beyond these milestones.

Can child support orders be modified retroactively?

Generally, child support modifications are effective from the date the modification request is filed, not retroactively. However, the court may consider the circumstances leading up to the modification request when making a decision.

Can child support be enforced across state lines?

Yes, child support orders can be enforced across state lines through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This allows for cooperation and enforcement between different states to ensure child support obligations are met.

Can I seek child support if the other parent lives in a different state?

Yes, you can seek child support even if the other parent lives in a different state. Through the UIFSA, the court can establish and enforce child support orders across state lines.

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