Divorce doesn’t end the obligation to support your children — even if you have no custody rights. In fact, the less custody you have, the more child support you will likely pay, since Tennessee’s child support guidelines make parenting time a factor in determining awards. Unlike most other aspects of divorce, child support is a predictable outcome based on financial data and mathematical formulas. However, there is still room for interpretation and argument about certain aspects of support awards. At Grant & Sain, PLLC in Jackson, Tennessee, we know how to make the strongest case to protect our clients’ interests, whether we represent the payer or the recipient.
In a Tennessee divorce, child support is calculated according to state guidelines, which take several factors into account. These include:
A judge may depart from the guidelines in limited circumstances, such as where:
Support lasts until a child’s 18th birthday or regularly-scheduled high school graduation, whichever is later. Disabled children may be entitled to support into adulthood.
When a party fails to pay child support, there are enforcement remedies available. The recipient spouse may contact Tennessee’s Division of Child Support Services, which may then pursue the non-paying parent by taking such enforcement measures as garnishing the nonpaying spouse’s wages, seizing bank and investment assets and placing liens against real estate and personal property. Nonpayment can also lead to revocation of drivers’ licenses and even professional licenses.
Further, the court that ordered support may hold the nonpayer in contempt and issue a bench warrant for his or her arrest if support is more than 30 days past due. State law calls for 12 percent annual interest on child support arrears.
As attorneys for the recipient spouse, we take aggressive action to collect child support arrears in court and through the DCSS. We also represent paying spouses who are having difficulty with their support obligations, making sure that their rights are protected as we work out solutions that fall within their financial ability.
Tennessee allows Tennessee allows either ex-spouse party to ask the court to modify a support award in certain circumstances. State law requires a “significant variance” of circumstances that would lead to a 15 percent difference in support or 7.5 percent for a low-income payer. Loss of a job would almost always affect income to that extent and thus may justify a change in child support while a minor pay raise or cut in hours may not. As your counsel, we can analyze whether modification is appropriate in your case.
The family law attorneys at Grant & Sain, PLLC craft creative and aggressive strategies for child support arrangements and provide competent counsel in enforcement and modification proceedings. To schedule a consultation in our Jackson office, call 731-256-7477 or contact us online.