The law often evolves. These changes can reflect an attempt to right a wrong, an attempt to adjust the current law so that its application is more likely to result in justice. This is true for all areas of law, including family law.
This was recently highlighted by two specific changes that went into effect on July 1, 2017 in Tennessee. These changes were likely made in an attempt to help better ensure the law reflects legislative intent. This intent is generally to encourage parental involvement in the child's life, both with a physical and emotional presence as well as through financial support. The changes specifically address the rules regarding financial support and are as follows:
- Retroactive child support. In the past, a custodial parent could file for retroactive child support payments going back 17 years - essentially to the birth of child. This led to some parents waiting until just prior to the child's 18th birthday to file for collection of back support. This was likely not the intention of the law. The new law changes this. Under the new law a parent can generally only seek payments looking back five years from the date of filing the action for support. In some cases, a custodial parent may be allowed to establish that an exception for a longer look back period is allowed as well as exceptions that allow the noncustodial parent to encourage a shorter look back period.
- Interest payments. Unpaid child support payments accrue interest. In the past, this interest rate was set at 12 percent. That also changed, and is now reduced to 4 percent.
These changes are geared towards helping ensure father's rights are protected in child support matters. Father's can further ensure their rights are protected in these matters by seeking legal counsel. An experienced attorney can advocate for your interests, better ensuring your goals and expectations in these matters become reality