Knowledgeable Murfreesboro Family Lawyers Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions on Child Support
Answers when you need them most
In Tennessee, both parents have the ongoing duty to support their minor children. In practice, this is completed by one parent paying child support to the other parent. Tennessee’s child support guidelines provide a basis for how much child support is awarded. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys at
Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law can answer any question you have about the child support process.
Why is child support necessary?
Child support helps provide children the necessary financial means to prevent them from being impoverished. It also helps ensure that the economic impact of parents living separately is minimized in the child’s life and that a child shares the same higher standard of living that one of the parents benefits from. Courts generally find that having an ongoing child support obligation is in the child’s best interests.
How is the amount of child support determined?
Tennessee uses the child support guidelines to determine the presumed amount of child support that should be paid. These guidelines determine the average amount of support that a child needs based on his or her parents’ income and other factors.
The family law judge or others can input information into a child support worksheet to determine the amount of support. This calculation considers the following factors:
The income of each parent
Health insurance costs
Recurring medical expenses that insurance does not cover
The cost of child care that is related to working
Other children that are legally required to be supported
The amount of parenting time
How does the amount of parenting time affect child support?
The amount of parenting time adjusts the basic child support obligation. Unless the parents have equal time with the child, the adjustment is based on the number of days the alternative residential parent has of parenting time. If the parent spends more time with the child, it is presumed that he or she is incurring additional expenses. Therefore, the amount of child support obligation is decreased.
Can we deviate from the child support guidelines?
The parents may be able to deviate from the child support guidelines if they agree to this and the judge agrees that this is in the best interests of the child. They must detail the reasons to justify this deviation in their petition.
The court can also deviate from these guidelines when it feels that the guidelines would provide an unjust result or that the basic child support obligation is not adequate to meet the child’s needs. The judge may order an increased amount of child support to cover:
Special expenses – Special expenses include extracurricular activities, travel, summer camps, music lessons and other activities that increase the child’s cultural, artistic, athletic or social development. For a judge to deviate from the basic child support obligation, these activities must be more than 7 percent of the basic child support obligation and the just must detail his or her reasons for the deviation in the child support order.
Private school expenses – The judge may consider the cost of private school and the reasons why the child may need this type of education to deviate from the basic support obligation.
Special needs – If the child has special needs or special needs education, the judge may deviate from the basic support obligation.
Can I modify a child support obligation?
To increase or decrease the amount of child support, there must be a change that would result in 15 percent more or less child support obligation. The parent wanting to make the judge must petition the court to modify the existing child support order.
Contact an accomplished Murfreesboro child support attorney
The Murfreesboro child support attorneys at Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law understand the impact a child support obligation has on a family. We discuss Tennessee child support guidelines with you and how they impact your child support case. We provide free initial consultations; contact us online or call us at 615-890-1982 to schedule a free case consultation with our compassionate family law attorneys.