Helping Parents Get the Right Amount of Child Support Their Children Need
Showing that your children’s needs are a parent’s first priority
Child support in Tennessee is based primarily on the income of the parents, the number of children who need support, and the number of days the children spend with each parent. Child support includes more than just food, shelter, clothing, and the fundamental necessities of life. In general, children are entitled to the same standard of living they enjoyed when their married parents or unwed parents were living together. This includes vacations, social activities, attending quality schools, and the pleasures of life.
Support is determined by the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. Our Nashville and Goodlettsville attorneys work to show all the income the other parent is earning. This includes more than just a salary or self-employment income. It also includes retirement benefits, workers’ compensation pay, business income, and other forms of income.
The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines
Every child support case, whether the parents are married or unwed, begins by having each parent complete a standard income share worksheet. The amount of child support to be paid considers the following key factors:
- The gross income of each parent
- The number of days a child will reside with each parent
- The cost of health insurance for the child
- Daycare costs when the child can’t be with either parent
Adjustments are made for all children of both parents and also for any child support payments due to other relationships. Adjustments may also apply if a child has special needs or a parent is disabled.
If paternity is contested, then the court will take the appropriate steps to determine if a male is the parent of the child.
How long does the duty to pay Tennessee child support last?
Parents must pay child support until their child reaches the age of 18 or graduates with his/her high-school class. If the child has a physical or mental disability, the duty to pay child support may be extended for the rest of the child’s life.
Modification and enforcement of child support orders
If a parent loses a job or gets a better-paying job, then the child support order can be modified to reflect the change in income earnings. Likewise, if a parent of a child becomes disabled, the availability of insurance changes, or daycare needs change – the support order can be modified. Changes in support orders are only allowed if the amount of income or the amount of the order will increase or decrease by 15% or more – to make sure parents aren’t constantly running into court.
Our Middle Tennessee child support lawyers also work to enforce child support orders by filing contempt petitions against parents who aren’t paying their child support order on time. If a parent is found in willful contempt of failure to pay the child support order, that parent can be sentenced to jail. There are two types of contempt:
- Criminal contempt. Here, the delinquent parent is sentenced to 10 days in jail for each missed payment.
- Civil contempt. Here, the irresponsible parent is jailed until the child support arrears are paid or until a specific sum set by the judge is paid.
Our Nashville and Goodlettsville child support lawyers fight to have support payments made through a wage assignment or income withholding agreement to help guarantee the payments are timely.
Temporary child support in divorce cases may be ordered so that the child is protected while the divorce issues are being litigated.
Speak with a strong Tennessee child support lawyer today
The sooner you file for child support, the sooner you can begin to get the payments you need for your children. At the Law Office of Tara Carter, our Middle Tennessee child support lawyers fight to identify each source of income your spouse earns, to verify the support order meets the Tennessee guidelines, and to enforce support orders that are not being paid.
To help you get the full amount of child support your children deserve, please phone us at (615) 495-6000 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We see clients from Lebanon, Brentwood, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Goodlettsville, Hendersonville and nearby locations.