Tennessee Child Support Questions
How is Child Support Calculated?
- Each state uses one of two formulas to calculate child support, either the Percentage of Income Formula or the Income Shares Model. Tennessee uses the Percentage of Income Formula. With this method, child support guidelines calculate what percentage of a noncustodial parent's income should be devoted to his child's needs based on the combined income of both parents. That number then is increased for each additional child in the family. The Tennessee Department of Human Services has a child support calculator available for download on its website.
What Factors Can Influence the Formula?
- Any figure arrived at using the Percentage of Income Formula will govern unless a parent can convince the judge that there are extenuating circumstances. If your child is old enough to have a job, his income can be considered in lowering the noncustodial parent's child support amount. The court also will take any extraordinary medical or psychological needs of the child under advisement. Finally, visitation is very important. In Tennessee, the pivotal numbers for overnight visitation with the noncustodial parent are 110 and 55. If overnight visits surpass 110 per year, child support will decrease. If there are less than 55 overnight visits a year, child support will increase.
Can a Parent Be Forced to Pay for Other Costs in Addition to Child Support?
- Yes. According to the Knoxville Bar Association, a Tennessee judge is entitled to order a noncustodial parent to contribute to such expenses as the custodial parent's rent or any child care that is necessary so that the custodial parent can work.
What About Health Insurance Premiums?
- Tennessee's legislation allows a judge to order either parent to pay for a child's medical insurance.
Can I Receive Child Support Before My Divorce is Final?
- Yes. Child support is not contingent upon marriage in Tennessee. If you do happen to be married, then you can petition the court for temporary child support during the process of your divorce. A more permanent order will be entered when your divorce is final. If you are not married or if you do not want a divorce yet, you should contact Tennessee's Child Support Enforcement Agency. The staff members there will help you fill out the necessary paperwork to ask the court to order child support, regardless of your marital status.
What Happens If Support Isn't Paid?
- Tennessee has provisions for enforcement of child support obligations. If you are supposed to be paid monthly and you have not been paid by the fifth day of the month, you have the right to ask the court to attach the wages of the noncustodial parent. If he is unemployed or self-employed, you can ask a judge to have your child support payment processed through the county clerk's office. It will keep a record of the child support payments and instigate collection efforts if your spouse falls behind.