During a divorce, you and your future ex-spouse may be at odds about how to handle a range of divorce matters, including alimony and the splitting of marital property. However, some of the most contentious issues may be those involving the children -- such as child support.
Parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children, which is why child support exists. Here is a look at what you need to know about these payments in Tennessee.
Tennessee child support
Child support is the way in which a noncustodial parent sends money to the custodial parent to help to cover the children's needs following divorce. State guidelines on the calculation of child support focus on both your and the other parent's incomes as well as on how much time you each spend with the children.
Tennessee considers the following as sources of income:
- Tips, fees and commissions
- Self-employment income
- Severance pay
- Overtime payments
- Retirement plans and pensions
- Annuity, trust, dividend and interest income
- Workers compensation benefits
- Social Security retirement or disability benefits
- Net capital gains
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Lottery winnings, prizes and gifts
- Alimony from subsequent or previous spouses
- Civil judgments, such as personal injury awards
If the other party ends up being the paying parent but he or she is also making child support payments to other children, this may reduce the amount of money you ultimately receive. As a general rule of thumb, though, the minimum amount ordered for child support is $100 per month.
The enforcement of child support obligations
If you are the recipient of child support and your ex-spouse fails to fulfill his or her obligation to pay, then his or her payment will be past due. At that point, the government can enforce the existing court order in several ways. These include the following:
- Revoking his or her driver's license
- Denying him or her a passport
- Taking steps to place a lien on his or her property
- Seizing his or her bank account
- Intercepting his or her federal or state tax refund
The state could also report the amount that your ex-spouse owes to the credit bureaus.
How long must child support be paid?
Parents must legally support their child at least until the age of 18. Until that time, you have the right to make sure that the support payments you are receiving for your children are adequate and fair with the help of an attorney.