For the first time since 2005, the Tennessee Department of Human Services has made major changes to the state’s child support guidelines. As a result of changing family economics, the changes will improve the system for both the custodial and noncustodial parents to adhere to federal guidelines. Moreover, these changes will help those parents currently facing incarceration.
The new child support guidelines in Tennessee include:
- Granting noncustodial parents the right to request a modification of their child support if they are sentenced to or currently serving more than 180 days of incarceration
- Allowing credit for health, vision, and dental care paid by stepparents in the calculations
- Creating a minimum order of $100 for noncustodial parents
- Establishing a self-support reserve for noncustodial parents to ensure they have enough resources for basic needs while fulfilling their child support obligations. This change would leave many noncustodial parents with approximately $1,150 a month to live on
- Allowing a person’s criminal record to determine a parent’s income if there is no other evidence to use in the calculations
Because many parents who have faced incarceration struggle to find employment, these new guidelines look to assist them in staying afloat, while supporting their child’s needs.
According to a press release by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, to ensure that the new guidelines do not create an overwhelming influx of modification requests, there will be a temporary requirement for case modifications that will remain in effect until November 10, 2020.
To request modification at this time, there must be:
- A change in circumstances such as income or the number of children
- A 15% change between the amount of the current support order and the amount of the proposed order for the case modification to be granted
To aid parents through the process, anyone with an iPhone can download an app that can calculate the estimate of what their new support payments would be under the guidelines. Parents who already have the Child Support Calculator of TN app will need to update it in order to reflect the new guidelines.
The new updates are geared to help low-income mothers and fathers and provide better support for incarcerated parents. However, the programs offered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services will not change, including:
- Locating parents to get support payments or establish paternity
- Establishment of paternity
- Establishment and enforcement of child support orders
- Enforcement of medical support
- Collection and distribution of payments
- Modification of child support orders
- Enforcement of spousal support orders, if child support is involved
Need Assistance Under The New Guidelines? Our Nashville Child Support Lawyers are Here to Help.
As many in our nation are falling on tough economic times, those who were already financially struggling are feeling the effects tenfold. If you have questions about the new Tennessee child support guidelines, do not hesitate to contact us. In addition, if you are in need of a child support modification, do not delay. We are here and ready to help you provide for your children. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today.