How Is Child Support Calculated in Tennessee?

money in envelope

Parents have a legal responsibility to financially support their children until they turn 18 years old. If a couple goes through a separation or divorce or was never living together in the first place, a court may decide that one parent has to pay child support to the other. Child support is typically a monthly payment calculated by a court that one parent owes the other to ensure the financial stability of their child. If you are dealing with a child support case in Tennessee, contact a Memphis, Tennessee child support lawyer to find out what your options as a parent are.

How Does Child Custody Affect Child Support Calculations?

The first step in determining child support is figuring out child custody. Whether a court awards sole or joint custody, there is likely going to be a parent who spends the majority of time with the child. This parent is referred to as the custodial parent. The other parent will probably have to pay a set amount monthly to the custodial parent so they are continuing to contribute to the finances of their child. If one parent has sole custody then the other parent’s child support payments will likely be on the higher side. If the parents share some form of joint custody, the paying parent is spending their money directly on the child during their time with them so the child support payments will probably be lower.

What Factors Are Considered When Calculating Child Support?

A plethora of factors are considered when a Tennessee court rules on child support payments. Some of those factors can include:

  • The income of each parent
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • The financial needs of the child (can include daycare or education expenses, medical costs, food, clothing,
  • housing, special needs, etc.)
  • How many children the parents share

Does the Number of Children You Share Impact Child Support Calculations?

Yes, the number of children you and your co-parent share has a direct impact on the cost of your child support payments. The more children the custodial parent has to care for, the more costly their monthly expenses will be. Child support usually comes from a percentage of your income. That percentage is determined by the above factors. The more children you have with the custodial parent, the higher the percentage of your income is subject to child support.

What is a COLA Clause?

COLA stands for Cost of Living Adjustment. A COLA clause is a clause worked into many contracts including divorce agreements and child support papers. Child support is calculated as a set percentage of the paying parent’s income. The percentage is not typically adjusted but if there is a COLA clause in your agreement, then it can change. If the cost of living increases enough that it makes the previously decided upon amount of child support insufficient, your payments may be raised to accommodate the new cost of living.