Life as a divorced parent or single parent can be challenging, and there are times when difficult situations show up in your life that put you in a tailspin. Maybe you lost a job or suffered a debilitating illness or accident that prevents you from working. When you are paying child support and you experience a significant variance in your circumstances, or if your co-parent, who might have been unemployed or underemployed when the court order was established, gets a higher paying job, you can request the modification of your child support order. Tennessee law revised the rules related to child support modifications in 2007. If your child support order was dated after January 18, 2005, then the revised guidelines will apply to your situation.
There are many factors that go into the court’s decision as to whether or not you will be allowed to modify an existing child support order. According to the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, there must be at least a 15% variance in the amount of the existing child support order before it will consider a request for modification. The Child Support Division website lists several other factors which influence the court’s decision on whether or not to modify the child support order.
If you got divorced in TN, then it is likely that you and your co-parent would have completed a parenting plan during your divorce – or if the two co-parents were never married, when the court established paternity and the child support. Exchanging financial income is part of developing that parenting plan. Whether they give the information willingly, or you have to get a court order, you need to have both parents’ gross income to determine revised child support amounts.
The child support guidelines also take other factors into consideration. Factors such as a change in the number of children the parent who is paying child support is responsible for and actually supporting, and whether the child being supported becomes disabled. If the co-parents can come to an agreement on their own that is in compliance with the state guidelines, then a hearing may not be necessary.
Getting child support orders modified is not an easy process, and you do not want to undertake it on your own. Before you wade into the murky waters of requesting a modification to your child support order, you should talk to an experienced Tennessee family law attorney. I can help you avoid the confusion that comes with dealing with the courts and your ex. I know how to help you get the best results given your circumstances.