Tennessee child support laws hold parents responsible for the financial support of their children until a child reaches 18 years of age. The law requires that the income of both parents be compared and then assigns to each parent a percentage of financial responsibility in proportion to that parent’s income or earning capacity and comparative parenting time.
If a parent has no income or is voluntarily underemployed, income may be imputed to that parent, meaning that the court will assign income to the parent based on what it believes that person is capable of earning based on education and employment history.
Once we have helped our clients establish child support, we are able to enforce child support orders or modify them where material changes impact either parent’s ability to comply with the order. Child support modifications can be applied for by either party by petitioning the court to modify the amount of support owed if there would be at least a 15% change in the child support obligation based on current circumstances, including a change in either party’s income, a change in recurring medical expenses or work-related childcare expenses, or a child aging out of support (a child turning 18 or graduating from high school, whichever is later).
Child support is not automatically reduced or terminated upon a child turning 18 or graduating from high school. Rather, support will only be reduced or terminated upon filing a petition asking the court for approval. A petition should be filed well in advance of the end of your child support obligation to ensure that you will not overpay after your child ages out of support.
As these changes occur, our attorneys are able to guide clients as they renegotiate their child support arrangements or seek court intervention.
There is a Microsoft Excel worksheet available for calculating child support provided by the State of Tennessee. You can download a copy of the worksheet here.