Back in 2005 Tennessee created a new child support law that makes establishing child support fairly simple. The calculation for what child support will be is based on the following factors:
- Income of each parent.
- Parenting time spent with each child. Calculated based on the number of days you have with your child. (A day is at least 12 consecutive hours.)
- Childcare expenses.
- Healthcare costs of the children.
- Recurring uninsured medical costs of the children.
- Existing child support being paid.
This data is then plugged into the child support calculator (spreadsheet) which will display what the presumed child support should be. You can download this child support calculator by clicking here to give you a rough approximation of what the child support will be in your divorce matter.
I want to make sure to note that the presumed child support payment that is listed on the calculator is not necessarily the amount you will be ordered to pay. In Shelby County we have twelve different judges who hear divorce matters and each have their own insight regarding child support. Some judges feel that this is the “minimum” amount of child support that the state “suggests” and will order that the child support be increased if there is a substantial difference between the income of the two divorcing spouses.
Here are some of the questions I often get asked about child support in Memphis divorce cases:
My spouse and I have agreed that neither of us will pay the other child support, isn’t this ok?
No, it’s not. Child support is for the benefit of your children. The court will not let you bargain away or lower child support just because you and your spouse agree to this. You will be required to have a child support order entered that is in compliance with the Tennessee guidelines. There is NO WAY around this.
Can I get child support before the divorce is finalized?
Yes, in many cases you can. If there is a need for child support your divorce attorney can request that temporary child support be established at a temporary hearing. In fact, for our contested divorce clients with children we normally file the needed documents to request both temporary child support and temporary alimony at the time we file your divorce complaint.
Can I get child support deducted automatically from my Husband’s paycheck?
Yes. You can have it so that all your child support is deducted from your husband’s paycheck by the State of Tennessee. You, in turn, will then be paid this support from the state. We recommend that all our clients have their child support to be paid in this manner to make timely collection and payment easier.
What happens if my husband is ordered to pay child support but refuses to do so?
If this happens then you should then have your divorce attorney file a petition for contempt. At the contempt hearing the judge will hear both sides of the story (if he shows up). If you can prove that he has not paid child support then he will be liable for contempt of court and ordered to pay you all child support that is due you, plus reimburse you for all attorney fees that you paid to enforce him paying the child support.
What about modification of your Child Support?
In Tennessee, the courts will consider child support modifications in the case that either party has experienced a “substantial and material change in their circumstances”.
So, what exactly is a “substantial and material” change?
For child support orders established before January 18, 2005 the following meets the definition:
There has been at least a 15% change in the gross income of the alternate residential parent, and/or;
There has been a change in the number of children the alternate residential parent is legally responsible for and whom they are actually supporting, and/or;
A child or children receiving support becomes disabled, and/or;
The parties involved enter into an agreed order according to the rules of the state;
There has been at least a 15% change between the current amount of child support and the proposed amount (only if the current amount is $100+ per month & at least $15 if the current amount is less than $100 per month) OR there has been at least a 7.5% change between the current amount of child support and the proposed amount if it is determined that the parent seeking modification’s gross income qualifies them as a low-income provider.
For more current Tennessee child support orders established after January 18, 2005 the following rules apply:
There has been at least a 15% change between the current amount of child support and the proposed amount
The parent seeking modification’s gross income qualifies them as a low-income provider there has been at least a 7.5% change as above.
We know that the language above can be confusing, hard to read, and complicated – let us help you figure out if your situation qualifies for a modification by calling us at 901-754-1340 to schedule a consultation with our Memphis divorce lawyers.
Check out the following websites for assistance on your Tennessee or Mississippi child support matter:
Be sure to read through our Divorce Blog here on our website to find other information and blog posts about child support.