Common Questions on Child Support in Tennessee
Our children are the most important things in our lives – at least, most parents think so. And our desire to foster and protect our children does not end, even when a relationship does. But what should a parent expect when the relationship with their co-parent dissolves? How, exactly, does child support work?
While every case is distinct and unique, there are some general answers to common questions that can help parents as they set down the path to their new normal. And when you are ready to really navigate the complicated road to a child support and custody agreement, contact our esteemed family law attorneys at Fort, Holloway & Rogers. We can help you understand everything you need to know about child support laws in Tennessee
What is Child Support?
Tennessee law defines child support as the one parent’s obligation and duty to pay to their child’s other parent, to enable the support and maintenance of their child, in response to a court ruling.
Just as you would expect both parents to (ordinarily) have some kind of right to see their child through custody/visitation, parents should also expect that each parent is under an obligation to provide for the support and maintenance of their child.
As all parents know, kids can be expensive. Child support orders are created in order to help ensure that every child is sufficiently provided for and has access to a safe and nurturing environment.
How is Child Support Ordered?
A parent has obligations to financially care for their children whether they were married to their child’s other parent or not. Child support is very often ordered during the course of a divorce and custody arrangement. However, a divorce is not required in order for child support orders to be established. If legal paternity or a legal separation are on court record, then a child support order can be made.
How Long Does Child Support Last?
Tennessee law requires parents to provide financial support to their child until the child reaches age 18, or until that child graduates from high school. This does not mean the support has to stop – many parents enter into agreements that specify support will continue through post-secondary education, or some agreed upon later date.
The above is subject to change dependent on the unique circumstances of your case as well. For example, if a child has severe disabilities, a parent may continue to be required to provide financial support even into adulthood.
How Does Tennessee Calculate the Amount of Child Support?
Tennessee has developed guidelines that the court uses to calculate child support payments. Every situation is unique, and an experienced attorney should be conferred with to understand your precise situation. However, in general, you should expect the court to consider:
- The income of both parents
- The amount of time the child spends with both parents
- Childcare expenses
- Medical costs/needs
- Number of other children a parent is legally required to support
The above list is by no means all-inclusive, but can provide readers with a general idea of some factors the courts will be considering when they look at your specific case. For tailored advice, reach out to one of our expert attorneys
Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers
Our experienced Franklin child support lawyers can help you understand and anticipate every step to come in your own divorce or child custody and support case. Contact our office today to begin speaking about your case.