Tennessee Child Support Guidelines

Children have a legal right to be supported by their parents. Child support is how the "Alternate Residential Parent" (ARP), or non-custodial parent, sends money to the "Primary Residential Parent" (PRP), or custodial parent, to be spent on the child's needs.

Child support is calculated using Tennessee state guidelines that focus on the income of both parents (as reflected on an income worksheet) and the time that each parent spends with the child. If a parent pays support for other children, this could reduce any amount paid. Both parents can use the Tennessee online child support payment system to view processed payments.

How Are Child Support Obligations Enforced?

If a parent doesn't pay his or her child support obligation, the payment becomes past due. Child Support Services Enforcement can then go after the parent who's refusing to pay in a number of different ways, including:

  • Placing a lien on their property
  • Revoking their driver's license
  • Seizing their bank accounts
  • Denying them a passport
  • Intercepting their federal or state income tax refunds
  • Reporting the amount owed to credit bureau

Details on Tennessee's child support guideline laws are outlined in the table below.

Code Sections

Tennessee Code Title 36, Chapter 5: Alimony and Child Support

Tennessee Department of Human Services Rules

Who Is Responsible?

Both of the child's legal parents

How is Support Calculated?

Child support is determined by the guidlelines, specifically by the income of the parents, how often each parent has the child or children, and the number of children being supported. Often the basic Tennessee Basic Child Support Obligation Schedule applies. However, sometimes it doesn't. The minimum payment on the schedule is $100 per month.

Income in Tennessee includes:

  • Wages
  • Salaries
  • Commissions, fees, and tips
  • Self-employment income
  • Bonuses
  • Overtime payments
  • Severance pay
  • Pension and retirement plans
  • Interest, dividend, trust, and annuity income
  • Net capital gains
  • Social Security disability or retirement
  • Workers compensation benefits
  • Unemployment insurance benefits
  • Personal injury awards and other civil judgments
  • Gifts, prizes, and lottery winnings
  • Alimony from prior or subsequent spouses

What Expenses Can the Judge Order?

A judge orders child support to cover the basic expenses your child needs, such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, and health insurance. Sometimes an ARP or non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay for additional needs of the child, including extraordinary educational needs, medical, hospital, or dental expenses, or special athletic, extra-curricular, or cultural activity expenses.

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?

Parents have a legal duty to financially support their children until the child turns 18. Unless they child is still in high school, in which case until the child either graduates or completes the grade he or she was in when he or she turned 18.

Also, if a child is no longer considered a minor, that is, if he or she is emancipated, then the child support obligation ends. This happens if the child joins the military or marries.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Tennessee Child Support: Related Resources

Need Child Support? Get Professional Legal Help Today

Calculating the accurate child support amounts is important to the children that are affected. If you're a parent who wants to ensure that your child's needs are adequately met, you should talk to a Tennessee family lawyer who can help you understand child support guidelines in your state. Take the next step in your case by contacting a skilled Tennessee family law attorney today.

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