Washington DC Child Support Lawyer 

Childrearing requires a great deal of responsibility and considerable expense. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data indicates that it costs about $233,610 to raise one child to the age of 18. Food alone accounts for approximately 18 percent of that amount.

When parents live apart, there is sometimes a need for one parent to provide the other with monetary assistance or child support to provide for the children’s needs. In fact, under the law, both parents have a legal obligation to support their children.

Understanding how much you should pay or be paid and negotiating a fair amount can be difficult without help from a skilled family law attorney.

Whether you are married or unmarried, if you reside separately from the other parent, child support may be an issue. A Washington DC child support lawyer could help you decide on the right amount or modify an existing amount.

Child Support Guidelines in the District of Columbia 

DC Code §16-916.01 explains how the courts calculate the amount of child support payments. During divorces, custody disputes, or other family law cases, judges should act on the following principles:

  • Child support should be equitable, as both parents share legal responsibility for their offspring
  • A parent has the responsibility to meet basic and greater needs of the child, depending on the child’s standard of living
  • Application of the guideline should be gender-neutral
  • Application of the guideline considers extraordinary medical, dental, or mental health expenses not covered by insurance

A Washington DC child support attorney could explain how these principles apply to a particular case.

Income Applicable to Child Support

Under the DC Code §16-916.01, child support is calculated based on gross income. The code defines gross income as earnings from any source, including but not limited to income from:

  • Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses
  • Royalties
  • Dividends
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Unemployment benefits
  • A pension or annuity
  • A trust
  • Capital gains of a regular source of income

Any alimony that one of the parents pays will be subtracted from that parent’s total gross income before child support is determined. Moreover, these earnings do not include public assistance benefits nor income that a child receives from sources such as trusts or social security.

Basic Child Support Obligations

The Code of District of Columbia requires that an adjudicator combine the adjusted gross income of the parents and find that total on the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations. Dollar amounts that fall between two areas of the schedule shall be rounded up to the higher threshold.

In order to quantify the responsibility of each party, the judge divides each parent’s adjusted gross income by the total. The court uses the basic obligation and calculated percentages, in conjunction with factors such as physical custody, health insurance payments, childcare expenses, and extraordinary medical or dental expenses of the child, to formulate a support order.

Child Support Orders for Out-of-State Parents

If a parent moves away from the District, DC Code §16-914.01 deems that the current support order will remain in effect. DC courts generally continue to exercise jurisdiction over all child support, alimony, and custody orders.

Additionally, Washington DC courts maintain jurisdiction over the entry of any future orders modifying or terminating the original mandate. A child support lawyer in the District of Columbia could help you comply with DC law and understand the amount of child support owed to you or that you owe in pursuit of an agreement that provides for your children.

Get Help from a DC Child Support Attorney Today

Garnering monetary support in order to provide for the needs of your children can be cumbersome and seem unfair. However, a Washington DC child support lawyer may be able to make the process more understandable. Contact an attorney to discuss your options for creating or modifying a child support agreement that takes your needs into account while providing for your children.