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Child Support Lawyer in Rhode Island

Get The Help You Need By Contacting My Firm!

For help in settling legal matters relating to child support, contact a divorce attorney at The Law Office of Patricia A. Sullivan. My firm has over 30 years of experience in resolving divorce issues of all types. If there is a chance of an amicable resolution for a client, I take the necessary action to help make that a reality. I understand the difficulties involved in divorce and child support matters, and I am ready to help you pursue an outcome to your case that reduces the impact of those difficulties as much as possible.

If you are seeking child support, or are intent on challenging a child support order that you feel is unfair, contact my firm for legal assistance.

Common Questions About Child Support

How does child support work in Rhode Island?

Do you have questions or concerns about whether you will be awarded child support, or be required to pay support? I have gathered together some of the most common questions I am asked to help you understand the process under state law, and how decisions are made by the court. You can contact me to discuss your personal concerns about this critical issue. With over 30 years of experience, I have gained a great deal of insight into how the court comes to a decision, and how to ensure that my clients and their children are treated fairly.

How much child support will I have to pay?

Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines are used to determine the amount of child support that a custodial parent receives after a divorce or legal separation. These guidelines include a variety of factors that a court considers when deciding on an amount that meets of the needs of the child while being fair to both parties. The factors include:

  • The financial resources of both parents
  • The child's standard of living throughout the marriage
  • The child's educational needs
  • The child's emotional and physical condition
  • The financial needs of the child and the noncustodial parent

The court also considers the amount of time that each parent spends with the child, as well as the necessities related to the child's upbringing, such as child care and health insurance.

When the two parents are sharing custody, and the children spend equal time with each, and both have an income, it may be that no child support will be awarded. If one parent is the custodial parent, and acted as the main caregiver to the children while the other provided income, it is likely that child support will be awarded. I can easily help you determine what to expect in child support.

Can I change a child support order?

Once the court has issued a child support order, you are required to adhere to the order. If you cannot pay your child support payments, and you have an outstanding amount owing, you can face legal consequences, including enforcements in which your wages will be garnished, your tax refund forwarded to the other parent, or legal repercussions such as facing contempt of court charges. In any case in which a parent cannot pay the court-ordered support, due to a significant change in circumstances, such as:

  • reduced income,
  • the birth of another child in a new marriage,
  • loss of employment,

I can go to court and seek a modification. It is imperative that you get a change approved by the court, rather than making arrangements with your former spouse. Should your relationship deteriorate, your former spouse could take action to collect all outstanding payments, even if you made a prior agreement between the two of you. Get the court to approve a modification. I can help.

Is it possible to enforce a child support order?

If a parent fails to pay child support, the custodial parent may request that a court find the non-custodial parent in contempt. There are two types of contempt that a parent can be charged with: willful and technical. Willful contempt involves the non-custodial parent making little or no effort to provide child support. If the non-custodial parent has a legitimate excuse for not making payments, the court may find him or her in technical contempt. In either case, the court can order payment of child support. In willful contempt cases, the non-custodial parent may face prison time as well.