McBrien & Kane
The official blog of McBrien & Kane, a Lebanon, Tennessee law office.
CHILD SUPPORT IN TENNESSEE
Years ago, child support, in Tennessee was based on percentages of the non-custodial parent’s income. You paid 21% of your income for one child, 32% for two children and so on.
A few years back the Tennessee legislature changed the child support formula. Child support now takes into consideration both parents’ incomes. It also takes into consideration the number of days each parent spends with the child, other children each parent may support, child care expenses and health insurance expenses.
It’s a complicated formula.
Depending on each case, the Court has the power to deviate child support upwards or downwards depending on the circumstances. For instance, 7% of the child support a parent receives is supposed to go towards extra-curricular expenses. Many children participate in very expensive extra-curriculars that this 7% simply doesn’t cover. It is important you let your attorney know about these expenses as this may be a reason child support may be increased.
We are often asked, who claims the children for tax purposes? Sometimes, the parties through their attorneys can reach an agreement as to who may claim which child on any given year.
By law, however, the child support guidelines have a built in calculation that is supposed to allow the custodial parent to claim all the children. There is a little discretion as to who may claim the children, and that discretion is left to the Judge in your case, if the parties can not agree.
Child Support is to be paid in Tennessee until a child graduates from high school or turns 18, whichever occurs last. If you agree, however, to pay longer than what the law requires, you just formed a contractual agreement that a Judge can enforce against you.
In some cases, child support must be paid for a longer period than 18 years, and that is when a child is disabled. The law allows you to present evidence of the child’s disability that may entitle the child to child support to age 21 and in some cases, even longer.