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Franklin Divorce Attorney > Blog > Child Support > Who Pays Child Support In Tennessee, And How Much Will It Cost?

Who Pays Child Support In Tennessee, And How Much Will It Cost?


Parents worry about their children. This is even more true when children go through something as potentially stressful as the dissolution of a marriage. Divorce changes the financial dynamics of the family unit, so it is not surprising that some of the most pressing matters on a divorcing parent’s mind is: how much is child support going to be; and who will be responsible for making child support  payments?

Divorce changes everything. A family will now need to split their assets to support two households, rather than just one. One or both parents may find themselves needing to seek out new employment or hire extra help in order to tend to their kids and take care of all of their financial obligations. With all of this change comes stress, not just for you, but for your kids. It is understandable that parents will want to really get to the bottom of what their financial obligations are going to be. This article aims to educate readers on the basics of who pays child support, how child support payments are calculated,  and how long child support payments last.

Child Support Under Tennessee Law

“Child support payments” are the regular payments that a Tennessee judge generally requires divorcing parents to make to ensure that the care and wellbeing of the children is not sacrificed even if the parents are going through a divorce. Tennessee requires both parents to meet the financial obligations of parenthood. This means that both former spouses could be ordered to make child support payments. However, usually, the court recognizes that the custodial parent (parent with primary custody) incurs greater financial burdens than the alternative residency parent (ARP). The court has also found that the ARP is benefitted from the extra time and care that the custodial parent provides to the child. Accordingly, child support payments are generally paid by the ARP.

Every individual situation is different, and ultimately your judge will have discretion in determining who will pay child support, and for setting the amount and frequency of payments.

How will Payment Amount be Calculated?

The judge assigned in your divorce case will have discretion in determining the details of your child support arrangements. Tennessee does utilize state child support guidelines, which your judge will apply to your individual case. The guidelines are based on an income shares model and establish how much a child support payment should be by taking into account the amount of the parents’ combined adjusted gross income, the number of kids who are being provided support, and the custody/visitation schedule. This method operates under the assumption that a child should receive the same level of care post-divorce as would be available to them if the parents had stayed together.

An ”adjusted gross income” refers to financial increase, minus any deductions. To determine the adjusted gross income for child support assignment purposes, the court will consider every income source of the couple – salaries, pensions, tips, investments, lottery winnings, etc.

The court then adjusts the income amount by applying the applicable “credit” deductions. Applicable credits reduce the gross income as calculated above. For instance, if a child is already being supported by child support payments under a separate child support order.

Contact Fort, Holloway & Rogers

It is imperative that children be adequately supported throughout their childhood and that both parents contribute their fair share. Contact the Franklin child support lawyers at Fort, Holloway & Rogers today to discuss your case and see how our team can help in this process.




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