Within the state of Tennessee both parents are legally responsible for the financial support of their children, with the law stating that both parties, whether married or divorced are responsible for their child’s “care, nurture, welfare, education and support.”
Which Party Pays Child Support?
However, following a divorce, the parent in charge of paying child support and the amount of child support required by law is determined by a variety of factors, some of which include custody, income, the number of children, and the emotional and physical well being of the children.
In Tennessee child support cases there are two parties: the primary residential parent, with which the child resides primarily, and the alternate residential parent, who does not have primary custody of the child. Typically the alternate residential parent is responsible for paying child support to the primary residential parent, since it is assumed that the primary custodian is already providing financial support for the child.
If both parties split custody of the child equally, one party will still most likely owe the other party child support, unless each make the exact same income.
How is The Amount Determined?
Within the state of Tennessee, the amount of child support owed by the alternate residential parent is usually calculated based on the state’s Child Support Guidelines using a Child Support Worksheet.
This worksheet calculates the Adjusted Gross Income of each parent, which includes salary, tips and wages as well as other sources of income such as pensions, retirement plans, social security benefits, unemployment payments, investment gains, alimony from previous marriages, and even gifts or winnings from the lottery.
The worksheet also factors in applicable deductions. These can include self employment taxes, credits for supporting other children, and social security benefits that a parent has collected on behalf of their child.
What if the Amount Calculated is Unfair?
Typically the Court will assume that the amount of child support determined by the state’s Child Support Worksheet is accurate. However, in certain instances the worksheet simply cannot factor in certain items that may affect the fairness of the payment.
In these instances the party that feels the final child support amount is unfair can request that the Court adjust the amount. If this is the case, you must demonstrate a legitimate reason that the payment should be adjusted. Some common factors affecting adjustments to child support payments include exorbitant medical or education expenses, travel expense, economic hardship, and special expenses such as summer camp or athletic clubs. Although these issues can affect the payment, it is ultimately up to the Court to act in a way that is best for all parties.
If you want to ensure that the amount of child support that you owe is properly calculated using the Child Support worksheet, Ken Phillips Law is here to help. We will help you calculate what you owe, and can also represent you if you feel that the amount of child support that you owe has been unfairly calculated. Contact us today, and we will help walk you through calculating child support in Tennessee.