In Tennessee child support and divorce law, voluntary underemployment or unemployment has always been a hot topic. The incorporation of the income shares child support rules did not change Tennessee law. They simply summarized what had been the law. Continue reading
In the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, exactly what is meant by “special needs education” could be more clearly defined. Most judges are likely to interpret the provisions in a way that makes logical sense on a case by case basis. For example, a child with autism, severe learning disabilities, or serious physical challenges will assuredly be deemed to have special education needs. There may be closer judgment calls when a child has educational needs such as tutoring fees or medication related to diagnosed ADHD. Continue reading
What’s Not Income Under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines
Under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, there are not many exclusions from income. So, if an exclusion applies, a parent needs to take advantage. Child support received for another child is excluded, which makes sense. But, note that income from SSI is excluded even though disability income may be included. Continue reading
How Parenting Time Factors Affect the Tennessee Child Support Amount Owed.
Parenting time is the third of the three most important factors affecting the child support amount owed. (Each parents’ income are the other two.) Note that child support starts to decrease for the alternative residential parent (ARP) if the parent enjoys more than 92 days. Most “standard” parenting plans have the ARP enjoying 80 or 85 nights per year. Continue reading
Fringe Benefits as Income Under Tennessee Child Support Guidelines
Under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, certain fringe benefits qualify as income. Note that the Guidelines do not state that if the fringe benefits are not taxed as income then it is not income under the Guidelines. Also, be aware that the military benefits of BAH and BAS are also income for child support calculations even though the service member does not receive this amount in pay. In almost all cases, the additional child support obligation resulting from this amount being included will be significant. Continue reading
Tennessee Child Support Ends When the Child Reaches 18 or Graduates High School
Under the Tennessee child support law, the obligation to pay child support ends when that child reaches 18 or graduates with his or her high school class, whichever occurs second Although it is not legally required to obtain an order terminating child support, we recommend parents do so for two important reasons. Continue reading
Factors for determining voluntary unemployment or underemployment in Tennessee child support divorce law are intuitive. None are confusing. The law did not change with the adoption of the income shares model. Many cases are not close calls. Punching a boss in the face will cause anyone to lose a job. That is an intentional act. On the other hand, many people get laid off due to corporate downsizing. That is not the fault of the parent.
But, what if a parent is suffering from clinical depression? What if a parent is laid off, but had a long history of disciplinary issues? What makes this challenging is the proof needed. The story an unemployed parent may tell will almost always be questionable. The only other objective witness may be the former employer. A lawyer may need to issue a subpoena to determine what the personnel file discloses. Continue reading