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:
Each parent’s income: The court will assess the gross income of both parents, including wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, and other sources of income.
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.
Child-related expenses: The court considers additional costs related to childcare, health insurance premiums, and extraordinary medical expenses.
Other children: If either parent has children from previous relationships who are also receiving child support, the court will consider these obligations.
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.
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.
What Our Clients Say
Types of Support
There are two main types of child support in Delaware: basic support and additional expenses.
Includes costs related to the child’s shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities.
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:
Parents are entitled to sufficient income to meet their basic needs;
Parents shouldn’t be permitted to retain more income than required to meet their basic needs; and
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.