In Washington, DC, both parents are responsible for providing child support. The amount of support is based on a variety of factors, including parental income, number of children, type of custody, other child support payments, and more.
Also, in Washington, DC, child support obligations are mandatory until the child reaches the age of 21. If the child is in a shared custody arrangement, less support will often be owed. Before support can be awarded, paternity must be an established factor.
The DC.gov website helps with support calculations with its DC Child Support Calculator. If the numbers entered are correct, the calculator provides a guideline that the court will use to determine the actual support amount.
To give you an idea as to how the Calculator works, enter the following information:
Step 1: Determine the custodian information.
Step 2: Calculate the adjusted gross income of Parent 1.
Step 3: Calculate the adjusted gross income of Parent 2.
Step 4: Calculate additional costs such as medical expenses, childcare costs, and insurance, which can provide credits towards the total amount.
Child Support Process
The child support process can be an intimidating one, especially if this is the first time you’ve had to go through it. However, understanding how the process works will help you feel a bit more at ease knowing what to expect. Here are some general steps in the process with our law firm:
- Free Consultation: We offer a free consultation where we will meet with you and go over the details of your case.
- Preparation Begins: Once we’ve had the initial consultation and if you decide to hire our law firm, we’ll start preparing a solid case for the court process.
- Location of Parent: If we need to locate the other parent, this will be the next step in the process.
- Establish Parentage and Paternity: It’s imperative that paternity is established prior to bringing a case, so this will be accomplished at this point. There is an automatic legal relationship if both parents were married or registered in a domestic partnership at the time the child was born. Both parties may choose to fill out a voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, also. A court order can determine paternity exists.
- Judge and Courtroom Assignment: Your case will then be assigned to a judge and courtroom at the DC Superior Court.
- Child Support Enforcement: Once a court order is entered stating child support terms, the Child Support Services Division (CSSD) can provide child support enforcement, if necessary. This type of child support enforcement can include:
- Federal tax intercept
- State tax intercept
- Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM)
- Driver’s license/vehicle registration suspension
- Passport suspension
- Lottery intercept
- Lien registry
- Credit bureau reporting
- Disability income withholding
- Worker’s compensation intercept
- Administrative offset
- Civil contempt
- Criminal contempt
Child Support Modification
There are certain situations that may necessitate modifying a child support order. For example, one or both parents may make more or less money now than when the order was issued. In which case, the support order may have to be modified. The court can also grant backdated payments based on prior income.
Child Support During the Pandemic:
Hearings are a bit different these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DC Superior Court is currently holding hearings remotely via WebEx with call-in instructions. Our law firm will properly prepare you for these new online court proceedings prior to the hearing taking place.
In addition, due to the pandemic, some child support payments may be reduced if the individual ordered to pay them is experiencing economic hardship. Recently we won a motion to lower child support order granted to DC restaurant owner whose business has been affected by the pandemic.
The pattern of proof in this case was to show by evidence and demonstrate what the pre-pandemic income was and then match it against what the current income is also needing proof. This case involved a restaurant owner with fairly complicated taxes which made a hearing necessary in front of a judge by WebEx. The resulting difference must be substantial which means more than a 20% difference downward which in ordinary times can be difficult. These days this is common unfortunately.
Contact the Law Office of Paul D. Hunt today for an immediate case evaluation. Child support cases are challenging both emotionally and financially. Your lawyer though should be high caliber and thorough so that you may protect your legal rights going forward. Your initial consultation with our firm is FREE.