Parent Getting Divorced in Tennessee? Key Things to Address Regarding Child Support

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19.3.2024

Parent Getting Divorced in Tennessee? Key Things to Address Regarding Child Support

Parents of young children who get divorced will often need to resolve child support. The Tennessee Department of Human Services explains that the state uses the “income shares model” which “establishes the dollar amount of child support obligations based on the amount of parents’ combined adjusted gross income and the number of children.” Negotiating a child support arrangement can be complicated. Within this article, our Franklin divorce attorney highlights four key things that you should address regarding child support.

The Total Amount of Child Support

The total amount of child support matters. In Tennessee, determining the total amount of child support hinges on applying the state’s “Income Shares” method. The state considers both parents' income to ensure the child maintains a standard of living akin to what they would have experienced if the parents remained together. Court will use the Tennessee child support guidelines to calculate the precise amount. It takes into account factors like the number of children, the income of both parents, and the specific circumstances of the custody arrangement.

The Method of Payment

Parents should also know how child support payments are going to be made. It is best to have a clear structure in place. Child support payments in Tennessee can be made directly from one parent to the other. Though, in many cases, it is best to have them processed through the Tennessee Child Support Enforcement System (TCSES). The system helps to ensure that timely payments are made and it also provides an official record. Payments can be deducted directly from the paying parent's paycheck (income withholding).

Any Add-On Expenses—Such as Unique Educational/Medical Needs

Beyond basic support, Tennessee courts may require parents to cover additional expenses for their children. These can include costs related to special educational needs and/or extraordinary medical expenses not covered by insurance. The court may also consider extracurricular activities—like sports lessons or music lessons—in the child support order.

Taxes (Who Will Claim the Child)

Deciding which parent gets to claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes is an important financial consideration. In Tennessee, the parent with whom the child lives for the greater part of the year (the custodial parent) has the right to claim the child. However, the IRS allows divorced or separated parents to make their own arrangements. If the non-custodial parent makes significantly more income, it may actually make financial sense to allow that parent to claim the child for tax purposes. The additional savings can be used to better support the child.

Contact Our Franklin, TN Child Support Attorney Today

At Campbell Perky Johnson, PLLC, our Franklin divorce lawyer has the skills and experience to help parents navigate child support matters. If you have any questions about child support, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up your confidential case evaluation. From our Franklin law office, our family lawyers handle divorce and child support cases throughout the region.