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How Is Child Support Calculated in Tennessee?

Each state has specific procedures and laws in place that will determine how child support is calculated and paid. This is an essential part of a divorce or separation when parents share a child or children, and it is important to understand how it is calculated and whether you may be required to pay or entitled to receive support to care for your child or children.

How Tennessee Calculates Child Support

In Tennessee, child support is calculated based off a set formula established by Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. Parents can visit the Tennessee Department of Human Services website and use a convenient calculator and worksheet to see what amount of child support they may owe, and we have included some basic information here to help you understand support and how it is calculated.

Child support obligations will vary depending on the following factors:

  • Any child support payments already being paid
  • Any other children living in each parent’s home, if applicable
  • Each parent’s gross annual income
  • The child’s/children’s private or special needs education expenses
  • The number of days the child/children spend with each parent annually
  • The monthly cost of work-related childcare expenses
  • The monthly cost of health insurance for the child/children
  • Self-employment taxes

Although child support payments are calculated based off a formula, there are exceptions and ways to challenge the amount that has been determined. If it can be proven that paying support would present a true hardship to a non-custodial parent, that parent may be able to pay a reduced amount. The same may apply if a non-custodial parent’s adjusted gross income is $9,645 or less per year. Similarly, an increased child support amount may apply if a child has special needs or if parents agree on paying for private education, extracurricular activities, etc.

Paying Child Support

When child support is determined and approved by the court, the custodial parent will receive child support payments via a debit card. After receiving the first child support payment in the form of a check, a debit card will be mailed to the custodial parent. Support payments will thereafter be applied to this debit card account, which is currently the Tennessee Way2Go Card, a MasterCard Debit Card. This provides a safe and convenient way for the custodial parent to receive support.

Non-Payment of Child Support in Tennessee

In the state of Tennessee, intentionally not paying child support is considered contempt of court. If a non-payment of child support is proven intentional, Tennessee courts can sentence the delinquent payer to jail time until payments are made. If the delinquent payer resides outside of Tennessee, cooperation is legally required between states.

Reach Out to Upkins Law

If you are facing divorce and have questions about child support, Nashville divorce lawyer Ashley Upkins can offer invaluable insight. At Upkins Law, we believe in simplifying legal matters for our clients so they can understand what rights and responsibilities they have in regard to child support and other divorce-related issues. Even though child support is determined using a set formula, there are ways to ensure your financial situation and child’s needs are properly presented so as to protect your interests and your child’s well-being. We can make a difference. Call (615) 235-1991 today to find out how!