Calculating Child Support

In Tennessee, child support is largely based on a set of predetermined Child Support Guidelines that are used to calculate payments using a child support worksheet. Importantly, these same guidelines apply regardless of whether the child's parents are seeking a divorce or if the child was born out of wedlock.

Since both parents are responsible for the financial support of their child under Tennessee law, the guidelines calculate child support based on the combined income of the parents, as well as the number of days each parent has parenting time with the child. In fact, the guidelines consider all sources of income for both parents, including salaries, bonuses, overtime pay, severance pay, pensions or retirement plans and income from trusts or annuities.

By comparison, child support calculations in Mississippi do not take into account the income of the recipient spouse. Instead, courts determine child support based on a percentage of the payor's income only.

Who Primarily Pays Child Support

In most cases in Tennessee, the custodial parent ― also known as the primary residential parent ― will receive support payments from the noncustodial parent ― or alternate residential parent. This is primarily due to the assumption that the custodial parent is already spending significant amounts of money since he or she is caring for the child most of the time.

While the court will typically order the child support calculations established using the guidelines and child support worksheet, it can deviate from this amount and make certain adjustments, but only in very limited situations. In addition, a court can order a modification to an existing child support order when the circumstances warrant such a move. However, navigating these various laws can be difficult, especially if you do not have the assistance of an attorney.

Contact The Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, For Help Today

If you have questions about child support obligations under either Tennessee or Mississippi law, contact the Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC, for knowledgeable answers. With an office in Germantown, our lawyers help parents throughout Memphis and North Mississippi. Call us today at 901-443-4599, or email us online.