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Franklin Divorce Attorney > Blog > Child Support > How Are Child Support Payment Amounts Determined In Tennessee?

How Are Child Support Payment Amounts Determined In Tennessee?


If you are divorcing and there are minor children involved, child support will have to be determined. But some parents are unclear on whether they are entitled to receive child support payments from their former spouse, or if there is an amount that they themselves may be accountable for.

While every divorce and situation is different, here are some of the factors that can impact the determination of child support amounts parents will be obliged to pay. If you keep these factors in mind, you can better anticipate what to expect as you move forward.

The Custody Arrangement Will Affect the Child Support Agreement

Child support obligations will largely pivot on who has custody of the child, and for what portion of the time. If one party has sole custody of the child the other parent will typically pay child support. The parent with sole custody rights will typically not be expected to pay support to the other parent for the time the child is in their care, since the court considers that the time and care provided by the custodial parent makes up for any lack of financial aid to the non-custodial parent. If both parents are awarded joint custody, in determining child support payment amounts the court will consider the earnings of each party, each parent’s financial situation, and the percentage of time the child spends with each parent.

How is Child Support Calculated?

The court must navigate both Federal (Child Support Enforcement Act) and state guidelines when calculating child support. In Tennessee, the child support guidelines are based on an income shares model. This means that the dollar amount of each parent’s child support obligation will be based on the parents’ combined adjusted gross income, along with the number of children for which the support order is being established. While this calculation will, in part, be  based on your basic salary, the guidelines include 24 different kinds of income that should be included.

How are medical insurance costs and work-related childcare costs calculated?

Under Tennessee’s Income Shares model, the division of the cost of health insurance (medical, vision, dental) uninsured medical expenses, and work-related childcare costs are typically all included in the calculation of the initial support order. The actual expenses are divided, once they have been accrued, according to each parent’s percentage of combined income. These costs and percentages will already have been accounted for in the language of the initial support obligation order.

How are educational expenses or the costs of special activities calculated?

Educational expenses such as tuition for a private school, or special music lessons, camps, etc. can be considered a deviation from the amount of support specified in the parents’ basic child support obligation agreement. Unless both parents agree otherwise, to classify as a deviation the special expense must exceed 7% of the basic child support obligation before they’re considered. If the deviation is made, the court will include the deviation in an order which includes the reason for the deviation, as well as listing the amount the basic child support order would have been if the deviation had not been made.

Contact Fort, Holloway, & Rogers

Our Franklin child support attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers, LLC can guide you through the complicated task of reporting all of your income. Even more importantly, we can help ensure that your spouse or co-parent is correctly reporting their income as well. Contact our office today for honest advice and a strategic approach that fits your needs and situation.




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