Getting The Support You Need
Calculating & Enforcing Support in Tennessee
Raising children is both expensive and time-consuming, especially if you’re the primary caregiver after a divorce. For many people, child support payments are an integral way they care for their child. If payments start to falter, they may not be able to provide everything necessary for their kids. That’s why advocating for what you need is important, especially when it comes to providing for your children.
When what matters most is at stake, call Peterson White LLP. We will give you honest, straight-forward representation while fighting for what is legally owed to you. Don’t leave the future of your children to chance; we can help you today.
How is Child Support Determined?
Many factors are considered to determine child support. In Tennessee, it’s generally calculated based on the income of both parents and the amount of time that the child lives with each parent. Contact a family law attorney for more detailed information.
Tennessee law requires both parents to provide financial support for minor children. If you have ended your marriage or have not married your child’s other parent, you can request that the state’s Department of Human Services create a child support order, enforce an existing order, locate a noncustodial parent and/or determine paternity.
These factors influence the court-ordered child support amount for minors in Tennessee:
Determining Adjusted Gross Income
The state uses a simple worksheet to calculate the amount of child support. Required information includes:
- Both parents’ income
- Federal benefits that the child receives
- Self-employment tax that either parent pays
Parents will also receive a credit for other minor children, whether they have custody of or pay support for those children. If another child lives with the parent at least 50% of the time, the parent can deduct 75% of the cost of supporting that child from the parent’s income. If the parent pays support but does not live with another child, the parent can deduct 75% of the average monthly child support payment for that child from his or her income.
Together, these factors create the parents’ combined adjusted gross income.
Understanding Basic Child Support Obligation
Tennessee uses a chart to determine the basic child support obligation depending on adjusted gross income. For example, if you and the child’s other parent earn a combined AGI of $2,000 a month, the BCSO would be $421.
The judge will adjust this amount depending on whether the noncustodial parent shares regular parenting time. If the noncustodial parent spends at least 12 hours with the child at least 92 days a year, he or she will receive a credit for support. The custodial parent receives a credit when the other parent spends at least 12 hours with the child on fewer than 68 days in a year.
The court then adds these costs to the adjusted BCSO:
- Medical insurance premiums for the child
- Uninsured medical expenses for the child
- Daycare costs
You can calculate your child support obligation or expectation using the online tool from Tennessee DHS. Remember, however, that the judge may adjust the final amount at his or her discretion.
Enforcing Child Support In Cases Of Contempt
If you haven’t received a child support payment from your ex-spouse for at least 45 days, consider contacting a lawyer who can work with Tennessee’s Child Support Program on your behalf. There are many ways that the state can collect child support payments, including:
- Placing a lien on the ARP’s property
- Garnishing wages
- Intercepting federal or state income tax refunds
- Other administrative methods
If someone is no longer able to pay child support due to job loss or medical reasons, they may be able to modify their payments to make them.
Attorney Jodi Loden can represent your interests if your spouse is unwilling or unable to pay the designated child support amount. Raising children is expensive, and you shouldn’t carry the financial burden alone. With experience in juvenile and divorce law, she can help you get the support you need to give your kids the best opportunities possible.