Child Support

Family Law Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Nashville Residents

Divorce can often become complicated, especially when young children are involved. The family law lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard help individuals in Nashville and the surrounding communities with trying to determine the financial aspects of caring for their children following a divorce. Child support calculations during and after divorce are critical, and modifications are not easily granted. Whether you are the receiving or paying spouse, these stipulations are important in helping you plan for the future.

Determining Child Support in Tennessee

Courts in Tennessee use the state’s established Child Support Guidelines to help them determine the proper amount of support to award a parent. This state uses an income-shares model, which is based on the presumption that both parents are supposed to contribute to the financial support of a child, taking into consideration each person’s actual income as well as the additional expenses of raising a child. In its calculations, the court also considers factors such as:

  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent;
  • Daycare costs; and
  • Health insurance costs.

Courts do not consider private school tuition when determining an amount to award, by contrast, but they may order that such schooling should continue if the child has been previously attending a private school. Child support is either due from the time a child is born or from the time the parents separate. Noncustodial parents must pay child support until a child turns 18 years old, or when he or she graduates from high school, whichever event happens later.

A parent may file a petition for a modification in child support with the court. However, the court requires a finding that a parent’s income has changed by at least 15 percent to grant a modification. The court may also alter an amount if the needs of the child have changed significantly, such as if he or she needs special education or medical treatment. Retroactive modification of child support is not permitted under Tennessee law, so parents must immediately file a petition for modification if their status has changed.

The failure to pay child support is viewed as civil contempt in violation of a court order. However, some Tennessee courts are granting criminal contempt orders pursuant to the federal Child Support Recovery Act, which punishes failure to pay child support as a criminal sanction. Whether you are unable to pay the amount that is owed, or you are trying to enforce an order for child support in order to properly care for your kids, an experienced family law attorney can help you determine what actions need to be pursued.

Legal Guidance for Individuals in Franklin Seeking a Divorce

If you need assistance coming to an agreement regarding child support stipulations, or with any other aspect of a divorce in the Franklin area or beyond, the attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard can help. Our firm represents individuals in Belle Meade, Cool Springs, and other communities across Davidson and Williamson Counties. Contact us online or call (615) 800-7096 to set up a consultation.