In Tennessee Child Support Law, Courts Can Prorate as Children Turn 18

Tennessee child support law on proration of child support in Tennessee family law from the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Sarah Avalon Myatt Clinard (Brown) vs. James Edward Clinard – Tennessee child support law – proration as children grow up

With three children in common, Sarah Clinard Brown and James Edward Clinard were divorced in 1969.  The Mother was awarded custody, and the Father was directed to pay $60 per week as child support.  Less than a year later, the Father began paying $25 per week, prorated for a child having turned 18.  The Mother accepted this $25 per week for 15-years, until the youngest child turned 18-years of age.  No court cases were filed during the entire of the children’s minority.

Then, in 1993, eight years after the youngest child was emancipated, the Mother filed a petition to reduce child support arrearages to a judgment, interest, and for contempt.  The Father conceded he owed arrears, but disputed the amount. Continue reading

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Special Education Needs Can Require Private School Tuition in Tenn.

Special Education Needs Can Require Private School Tuition & Tennessee Mother Not Required to Consult with Father

Special Education Needs Can Require Private School Tuition & Tennessee Mother Not Required to Consult with Father

Special Education Needs Can Require Private School Tuition & Tennessee Mother Not Required to Consult with Father

Judi Richardson vs. George Kevin Spanos – Special Education and Private School Tuition in Tennessee Child Support Law

This case stands for the principle that a primary residential parent may unilaterally seek the special education services a child needs, including enrollment in a private school, and compel the other parent to provide the necessary financial support, which may be in addition to the standard child support obligation.

The child at the center of this case was an 11-year old boy named Lewis, who had special education needs.  His Father, Dr. George Kevin Spanos, was a physician, who had little to do with his son.  The Court of Appeals noted that at the time of trial, the Father had not visited Lewis for four years, and that their last visit was an hour spent at a bowling alley. Continue reading

Tennessee Father’s Income for Child Support Can Include Stock Sales

Tennessee child support law in Tennessee divorce & family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Alexander v. Alexander – Calculating Gross Income for Tennessee Child Support

This decision breaks down into clear categories a number of sources of income and expenses which may be considered for purposes of child support.

Donald James Alexander (the Father) and Carolyn Paxton Morrow (the Mother) were   married for 12.5 years and had two children, who were 11 and 10 at the time of the divorce decree in February 1995.   The Father was ordered to pay $2,194 per month in child support in 1995.   In 1997, the Mother filed for an increase in child support, claiming that there was a significant variance, according to the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines,  in the Father’s income to require an increase in child support.   According to Tennessee law, a modification may be made to the amount a non-custodial parent has to pay if there has been at least a 15% change in that individual’s gross income. Continue reading

TN Father Sought Child Support Reduction Gets Increase $400 Per Month

Tennessee child support modification law in Tennessee family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Tennessee Father Who Sought Child Support Reduction Gets an Increase of about $400 Per Month Due to Large Cash Deposits into Father’s Bank Account Imputed as Income

Parris vs. Parris – Modifying Tennessee Child Support + Income Determination

The Father, Jerral D. Parris, was obligated by a 2003 decree of divorce to pay $1,250 per month in child support to the mother, Irina N. Parris, for the Parties’ two children. The decree included a “Permanent Parenting Plan.”

The Father filed a motion to request a downward modification of his child support obligation in 2005. A hearing was conducted in 2006, including testimony from six witnesses.

The Mother worked as a teacher’s assistant, earning gross wages of $715 per month, or, $8,266.56 per year. The Mother also supplemented her income by maintaining and renting six homes, taking in $100,004.52, less expenses of $16,354 in 2005. She also earned money helping prepare tax returns. The Mother provided her W2 and Form 1099 statements for 2005. Continue reading

59 Yr Old TN Father Appeals Willful Underemployed + Private School Tuition

Tennessee child support modification law in Tennessee family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Kaplan v. Bugalla – Modify Tennessee Child Support + Private School Tuition

The parties in this case are Brendi Kaplan (“Mother”) and John A. Bugalla (“Father”). The parties were married for over 10 years and have 2 children.  At the time of divorce, Mother was an attorney making $87,000 per year and Father was an executive at Aon making between $279,000 and $350,000 per year. Father’s initial child support payment was set at $4,000 per month in May 2002. This payment did not include private school tuition as Mother planned on moving with children and enrolling them in public school. Mother’s plans to move did not work out and Mother sought an increase in child support to pay for the children’s private school education in September 2002.  In 2003, the trial court denied Mother’s request for private school tuition. Mother appealed the decision and was again denied the private school tuition. In 2005, Mother sought a grant of certiorari. The Supreme Court heard this case on October 5, 2005.  The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court, denying Mother’s request for private school tuition, and remanded it back to the trial court. Continue reading

To Modify Child Support in Tennessee, Court Must Follow Legal Process

Tennessee child support modification process in Tennessee family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Lana Walton Luster vs. Kenneth Walton – Process to Modify Child Support in Tennessee Law

In 1994, the Parties were divorced, using a “Marital Dissolution Agreement” that was incorporated into the decree of divorce.  The Father, Kenneth Walton, agreed to pay the Mother, Lana Walton Luster, the sum of $624.54/month for child support.

Beginning in 1996, a string of petitions was filed by the Parties, who primarily represented themselves, but, upon occasion, were represented by Counsel.  Court appearances were made until 1999.

Then, from 2006-2008, the Parties again filed various petitions against each other.  Chief among the allegations was the question of whether the Father’s child support obligation had been reduced to $411/month, either by a court order that was inadvertently not memorialized in writing, or by agreement of the Parties that should have been reduced to a written court order, or by virtue of the Father paying and the Mother accepting this amount for a period of time between 1997 and 2006. 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