The basic child support obligations in a divorce case or paternity proceeding are determined by the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, utilizing the Income Shares Worksheet and all relevant factors. The goal of the guidelines is to minimize the economic impact on children when parents live separate and apart while allowing the children to share in the higher standard of living enjoyed by one or both parents.
Tennessee law requires both parents to financially support their children. Child support laws are to be gender neutral. The Tennessee Department of Human Services is responsible for administering the child support enforcement program which governs child support in the State of Tennessee. For the most part, child support is determined by each parent’s gross monthly income, the amount of days that the children spend in the custody of each parent annually and any healthcare or daycare expenses, as well as other variables.
If the parents are married or living together in the same household with their children, child support will be due from the obligatory parent to the other parent usually beginning on the date of the parties’ separation. If the parents were never married and/or do not live together in the same household, the child support obligation may begin at birth of the child. The courts may order retroactive support for periods when the parents did not live together and no support was paid by the obligatory parent.
There are many avenues available to 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 and revocation of professional licenses and drivers license.
Once child support has been set according to the Child Support Guidelines the support obligation typically continues until the child reaches the age of eighteen (18) or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. The amount of child support can also be reviewed or modified by request. There are specific rules and laws that govern when child support can be modified or terminated and the parents cannot agree between themselves to modify or terminate a child support order without court approval.
The Law Office of Brad H. Frakes can assist you in the setting and modification of child support obligations. Call the Law Office of Brad H. Frakes at (615) 248-7854.