Modifying Child Support in Tennessee

How to Modify Tennessee Child Support

How to Modify Tennessee Child Support

Modification of Child Support under the Tennessee Guidelines

Modifying TN Child Support 

Modifying child support in Tennesee can be very tricky to figure out.  Determining what a 15% change requires may mean guessing at the other parent’s income.  Then, a parent must factor in whether the number of overnights actually had by each parent is close to what the parenting plan states.  If the nights are different, that can make the determination challenging.  Exactly what numbers a court may use can be impossible to predict.  So, you may need to run numbers on different scenarios to see how different court interpretations may impact whether or not there is a 15% change which is required for modification.

It is possible to file a petition seeking modification of child support, get the needed documents, and the court deny the request based on the particular calculation of income and determination of days.  This complexity is one of the most important detriments to the income shares model.

For a much more detailed description and explanation, see the Tennessee child support modification information page at MemphisDivorce.com.  And, check out our video on seeking to modify a Tennessee child support order.

Here is the applicable provision from the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines:

1240-2-4-.05 MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS

(1)   Beginning on the effective date of these rules, all modifications shall be calculated under the Income Shares Guidelines, whether the action was pending before the effective date or filed after the effective date, where a hearing which results in an order modifying support is held after the effective date of these rules.

(2)  Significant Variance Required for Modification of Order.

(a)     Unless a significant variance exists, as defined in this section, a child support order is not eligible for modification; provided, however, the necessity of providing for the child’s health care needs shall be a basis for modification regardless of whether a modification in the amount of child support is warranted by other criteria.

(b)     For all orders that were established or modified before January 18, 2005, under the flat percentage guidelines, and are being modified under the income shares provisions for the first time, a significant variance is defined as:

1.  At least a fifteen percent (15%) change in the gross income of the ARP; and/or

2.  A change in the number of children for whom the ARP is legally responsible and actually supporting; and/or

3.  A child supported by this order becoming disabled; and/or

4.  The parties voluntarily entering into an agreed order to modify support in compliance with these Rules, and submitting completed worksheets with the agreed order; and

5.  At least a fifteen percent (15%) change between the amount of the current support order and the proposed amount of the obligor parent’s pro rata share of the BCSO if the current support is one hundred dollars ($100) or greater per month and at least fifteen dollars ($15) if the current support is less than one hundred dollars ($100) per month; or

6.  At least a seven and one-half percent (7.5% or 0.075) change between the amount of the current support order and the amount of the obligor parent’s pro rata share of the BCSO if the tribunal determines that the Adjusted Gross Income of the parent seeking modification qualifies that parent as a low-income provider.

(c)      For all orders that were established or modified January 18, 2005 or after, under the income shares guidelines, a significant variance is defined as at least a fifteen percent (15%) change between the amount of the current support order (not including any deviation amount) and the amount of the proposed presumptive support order or, if the tribunal determines that the Adjusted Gross Income of the parent seeking modification qualifies that parent as a low-income provider, at least a seven and one-half percent (7.5% or 0.075) change between the amount of the current support order (not including any deviation amount) and the amount of the proposed presumptive support order.

Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, August 2008.

Memphis divorce attorney, Miles Mason, Sr., JD, CPA, practices family law exclusively with the Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC in Memphis, Tennessee serving clients in Germantown, Collierville and the west Tennessee area.  To learn more about Tennessee child support laws, read and view:

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