Child Support Attorney in Memphis

Calculating Child Support in Tennessee

In arriving at a fair amount of child support, you should (and in the event of a contested trial, the court will) consider the needs of the children and the financial assets, earnings, and needs of each parent. In Tennessee, we use the Child Support Guidelines.

Understanding Tennessee Child Support GuidelinesChild Support Case in TN

Child support is set on the basis of a satisfyingly long, complex, and confusing set of regulations. However, the main variables are the parent’s income and the time the parent spends with the children. The income ratio is the biggest factor. Days with children is the next most important.

Unlike the previous guidelines, items such as medical expenses, insurance, educational cost, other children are also figured into the formula. As you might guess, if you try to make everything part of one big calculation, the rules for that calculation are going to be huge (over sixty pages).

The state provides a downloadable Child Support Worksheets in Excel as well.

How Long Do You Have To Pay Child Support in TN?

The court can require support of a typical child only until the age of eighteen (18) or until the child graduates with his or her regular high school class. You can provide for college, but you must do so by agreement, as the court cannot order it. Tennessee does not require a parent to put a child through college. If you have a child with a mental or physical disability, be sure to let us know, as it may be possible to have support continue after this child turns eighteen.

Can a Lawyer Help with child support?

Hiring a lawyer for child support can make the complex processes much easier to adjust to. Our lawyer will explain child support rights to you and answer questions regarding which situations qualify for child support modifications. Hiring a lawyer may also help the custodial parent recoup child support that has not been paid for by the supporting parent.

Issues regarding child support can be complicated, which is why we can make things easier to understand by thoroughly explaining the rules and regulations involved with enforcing child support orders.

Changes to the Parent's Circumstances – How to Modify Child Support in Tennessee

If the children’s needs or the parent’s ability to pay support substantially and materially changes (defined by the Guidelines as 15 percent), then child support can be raised or lowered. Child support, and sometimes alimony, can be assigned out of the paycheck of the person who is paying it. A bond can be required to ensure the payment of past, present, and future child support, or a lien may be placed on property for that purpose. The law currently places a lot of pressure on the court to use payroll deduction.

As with alimony, child support must be reasonable. Enough can be too much. If the custodial parent is awarded enough child support, it may be too much for the noncustodial parent to be able to pay. If this happens, the burden becomes too heavy, and if the ties to the children and to the community are too weak, then the noncustodial parent will leave. Once a noncustodial parent (parent without child custody) has left the state, it becomes very difficult to enforce child support rulings.


In a Memphis courtroom, a woman was divorcing her biker husband whom she had concluded was worthless—even on his best day. As the lawyer was going over the terms of the settlement in court, he got to child support and said, “Fifty dollars per month.”

The judge interrupted, “Fifty dollars is not much money. Wouldn’t one hundred dollars a month be more reasonable? I can award that if you want me to.”

The woman responded, “I wish you wouldn’t. I’m not going to get it anyway, and it only hurts half as much to not get fifty dollars a month as it would not to get one hundred a month.”


Rice Law can help you understand the complex calculations and strategies behind child support. Contact our attorneys for help with your child support cases by calling our firm at (901) 425-1274.

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