How is child support chosen in Tennessee?

Each parent has an obligation to support their children in Tennessee. In most cases money is given to the parent with primary custody. To find how much you’re likely to pay or receive for child support, you need to examine how the Tennessee courts view child support obligations. This is an overview. It’s important to speak to a family law attorney who can tell you about your specific situation.

Calculating Child Support

Tennessee calculates child support obligations based on a formula that takes into account the income of each parent and the time they spend with the child. The parent the child lives with most of the time usually requires a larger home, and is also presumed to spend more on meals, clothing, school supplies and other needs. The calculations consider whether a parent has other support obligations. A Tennessee court may order additional payments for educational needs, medical or dental costs, athletic and other extracurricular costs.

What income qualifies for Child Support?

Title 36, Chapter 5 of the Tennessee Code considers virtually every source of funds available to a parent when setting child support, even funds that might not be taxable. This includes wages, salary, commissions, fees, tips, self-employment income, bonuses, overtime, severance pay, pension and retirement plans, interest, dividends, trusts, annuities, capital gains, social security, workers’ compensation and unemployment. Personal injury awards, gifts, prizes and lottery winnings are also considered. Tennessee courts will consider anything that’s for your use and lifestyle “income” that must be shared with your children.

Speak with a Family Law Attorney.

Setting child support properly is important for your children, so it’s prudent to estimate in advance how much you will be receiving or paying so that you can make a budget. Consulting with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney will help you get a clear idea of how financial responsibility for your children will be distributed.