Child Support

Tennessee Child Support Lawyers

Divorces in Tennessee can become complicated, especially when there are young children involved. It is imperative that support calculations, whether during or after a divorce, are accurate. The child support obligation established during either a divorce case or a paternity proceeding is determined by the Tennessee Support Guidelines through the Income Shares Worksheet. The Tennessee child support lawyers at the Law Office of Lords and Cate can assist you in establishing, modifying and enforcing support obligations.

Tennessee law requires both parents to provide financial support for their child. The goal is to provide for the economic well-being of the child or children. The Alternate Residential Parent (ARP) sends money to the Primary Residential Parent (PRP) to help provide for the child’s needs (housing, food, transportation, clothing, entertainment, and basic education). The amount of support that a parent must pay is determined by the Income Shares Worksheet which takes into consideration each parents income. There are, however, other factors considered when determining the amount of support a parent must pay; another child being supported or other child support payments for a child with another partner for example. Providing for stepchildren does not have an effect on the support calculation. Child support is calculated to provide for the “basic needs” of the child. This obligation does not include childcare costs for working parents, a child’s health insurance or extracurricular activity costs.

Enforcing Child Support Orders

Child support obligations are ordered by the court. A parent who fails to comply with the order of the court is in contempt of court and can face jail time and fines. It is often necessary to involve the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS), who oversees Child Support Enforcement Services, state or even federal courts to force the non-paying parent to comply with the court’s support order. DHS can assist in locating the missing or non-paying parent and enforce the court ordered support. The courts themselves have many different ways of enforcing their child support orders, from garnishing wages, seizing assets, revoking driver’s licenses, to intercepting federal tax refunds.

Changing Child Support Obligations in Tennessee

Tennessee child support modification law requires that the person seeking a modification prove that there has been a significant change or “significant variance” in their financial circumstances. The law is specific on what constitutes a “significant variance,” but generally, a change of 15% or more is necessary. The person seeking a modification has to file a petition with the court that specifies the significant variance and the change requested.

Establishing a proper child support obligation is vital to the economic stability of the child. It is important that both parents participate in the cost of raising a child, for the child’s sake and the parents. Contact the Law Offices of Lords and Cate, PLLC to discuss your situation.