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Child Support in Tennessee

If you are struggling with a child support matter, The Family Law Firm, PLLC offers their legal expertise to you. Our Tennessee-based law firm has helped numerous families establish and collect on due child support.

Child Support Enforcement: What is it and why is it necessary?

Child support is a method of financial support provided by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent, to benefit and foster support of that child. Child support is designed to cover expenses for housing, food, transportation, education, and more.

Unfortunately, sometimes a person who owes child support will not fulfill their obligation willingly, which requires a lawyer to help correct. 

Common methods of child support enforcement include:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Liens
  • Tax Refund withholding

If you aren't receiving child support

Consider calling The Family Law Firm

Important Factors When Initiating Enforcement of Child Support

Methods of Collecting Child Support

When to Consider Modifying Child Support

The Family Law Firm's Child Support Enforcement Process

Child Support Enforcement Attorneys in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Human Services is responsible for administrating the child support enforcement program and responsible for creating the rules, or the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, which govern child support. Child support is calculated using Tennessee’s “Income Shares Model” which determines child support between the parents by considering, among many other factors, the number of days per year the child spends with each parent, each parent’s total gross income from any source, the costs of work-related childcare, the costs of medical insurance premiums and regular uncovered medical expenses, and many other variables. The actual amount of the child support obligation will be calculated by using the Tennessee Child Support Worksheet as promulgated by the Department of Human Services.

Child support is a critical component to ensuring a child’s safety, wellbeing, and proper development. If you are not receiving your state-warranted child support, you should schedule a consultation with a lawyer. 

Factors Considered during Child Support hearings

  • the needs of the child — including health insurance, education, day care, and special needs
  • the income and needs of the custodial parent
  • the paying parent’s ability to pay, and
  • the child’s standard of living before divorce or separation.

When a court sets child support during a divorce proceeding, it often considers the family’s pre-divorce standard of living and attempts to continue this standard for the children, if feasible. However, courts are aware of the difficulty of maintaining two households on the income that formerly supported one home. Maintenance of the same standard of living is therefore more of a goal than a guarantee.

What are the consequences of not paying child support?

There are many avenues available to the State and/or the parent who should receive child support to enforce a child support order. A non-custodial parent who fails to pay or refuses to pay child support could face incarceration, automatic income withholding (called wage assignment), withholding of income tax refunds, seizure of assets including bank accounts and investment accounts, liens against property, revocation of professional licenses, drivers licenses, and some other licenses, the denial of a passport or passport renewal, and reporting of the child support debt to the credit reporting bureaus.

Can child support be changed?

The court must find that the income of a parent varies by 15%, or that the amount of child support owed varies by 15%. Tennessee law specifically states that there shall be no retroactive modification of child support. However, parents cannot agree between themselves to modify or terminate a child support order without court approval

Reasons to modify a support order

  • a child’s medical emergency
  • the payer’s temporary inability to pay (for instance, because of illness or an additional financial burden such as a medical emergency or job loss), or
  • job change of either parent
  • disability of either parent, or
  • a change in the needs of the child
  • Child Custody has changed

What you need to know

Determining child custody is a complicated process, and is usually best completed with the assistance of an experienced attorney.

The Family Law Firm is here to help. Complete the form below so that we can help you protect your parental rights, and protect your child.

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