Requirements for Deviations from Tennessee Child Support Guidelines

Requirements for Deviations in Tennessee Child Support

Requirements for Deviation in Tennessee

Requirements for Deviation in Tennessee

Often, in child support disputes, one parent may believe child support is too high.  The other parent, however, may believe child support is too low.  In a few cases, both parents may actually agree that child support should be different from that amount determined by the Tennessee worksheet calculation. It’s technically possible for a Tennessee judge to award child support other than that amount calculated, but don’t count on it.  For a judge to award a different amount, the judge must determine a “deviation” to be in the best interest of the children.  In order for the deviation to have binding legal effect, the process doesn’t just end with putting the child support amount on the form and calling it a day.

The Guidelines require listing the specific reasons for the deviation and what the child support would have been without the deviation.  Unfortunately, this step sometimes gets overlooked by the parties’ lawyers and by judges.  Consequently, this can cause legal difficulties with a child support modification later.

If there is going to be a deviation, check the specific provisions and adhere to all of the requirements.  Here is one place you definitely want to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Continue reading


Travel Expenses for Long Distance Parenting in TN Child Support Law

Transportation Expenses for Long-Distance Parenting under Tennessee Child Support and Parenting Plan Law

Travel Expenses for Long Distance Parenting in Tennessee Child Support

Travel Expenses for Long Distance Parenting in Tennessee Child Support

If you travel to visit your children, you know how important travel logistics are.  What time is the exchange?  Where?  Gassing up is expensive.  Flying requires compliance with the unaccompanied minor policy.  And God forbid if someone is running late – how long are you required to wait on the other parent?  It’s all stressful.

Negotiating travel expenses (costs of transporting the children for visitation) seems to be one of those items parents wait until the last minute to think about.  But it can be very important and can be a large percentage of your monthly child support obligation.  Parents should know that negotiating travel expenses is very important.  Be armed with as much information as possible, especially with estimated costs of travel such as gasoline and typical airline ticket costs. Continue reading

Caps on Income and Percentages in TN Child Support

Caps on Income & Maximum Percentages in Tennessee Child Support

Caps and Maximum Percentages in Child Support in Tennessee

Caps and Maximum Percentages in Child Support in Tennessee

In Tennessee, a parent who owes child support will generally find their child support “capped” based on income at around $180,000 per year or so.  That doesn’t mean additional expenses (or other “add-ons”) won’t increase the overall support obligation, though.  It just means the parent receiving support will be required to carry the burden of proving the children’s needs for support to be awarded above the capped income amount. If you are trying to figure out how these caps might apply to you, work through several different scenarios using the child support worksheets to determine exactly how they may apply given each parent’s income and the nights the children spend with each parent.  Also, talk with your lawyer about Tennessee case law and examples of parents having to pay more than the caps for expenses like educational travel for children of affluent parents. Continue reading

TN Guidelines: Health Insurance, Medical Expenses & Child Care

Tennessee Child Support Guidelines: Health Insurance, Medical Expenses & Child Care

The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines sets the support amount owed.  The children’s health insurance premiums, uninsured medical expenses, and work-related child care costs (which should include after-school care) are added as separate components within the calculation and the amounts are individual to each family. This makes sense because there is no way to average these costs among families in Tennessee.  Plus, child care costs vary greatly among facilities, as any parent may attest.

If the alernative residential parent (ARP) is paying the health insurance premium, don’t forget to exclude that from the wage assignment to prevent double payment. But, any amounts paid by a step-parent are excluded from the calculation. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Special Education Needs in Tennessee Child Support by Germantown Divorce Lawyer Miles Mason

Special Education Needs in Tennessee Child Support by Germantown Divorce Lawyer Miles Mason

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

Tennessee Child Support Ends When the Child Reaches 18 or Graduates High School

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