Child Support Attorney

Child Support Attorneys in Franklin, Brentwood, & Columbia

Helping your children receive the child support they deserve for 30 years

Tennessee has state detailed guidelines that the court uses to calculate child support. While the law presumes that the guidelines will produce the appropriate amount, the court has some latitude to examine individual circumstances and make adjustments accordingly. Child support payments normally are paid until your child turns 18.

The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates works with individual spouses and couples to arrive at appropriate and manageable child custody payment agreements and orders. We’ll help you understand how the calculation is made. If you or the other parent experiences any significant change in circumstances, we can work with you to file a petition with the court to modify the amount paid in accordance with state guidelines.

How can we help?

What factors determine the amount of child support in Tennessee?

Your children are entitled to live as closely as possible to the way they did before their parents’ divorce or separation. Child support payments are usually made on a monthly, bimonthly, or weekly basis. The family court in Williamson County (home to Frankford, Brentwood, and Columbia) will generally honor any Tennessee or out-of-state paternity orders.

The court can order a temporary support order as soon as the divorce petition is filed and then a permanent order when the amount of child support is determined by agreement or by court order. The court does normally review any agreements to ensure the child(ren) are protected.

Generally, the family court will use the Tennessee state guidelines to determine the amount of support. The judge can modify the guidelines if a modification serves the best interests of the child. The court should then set forth the reasons for the modification in writing. In some cases, such as when the obligor parent’s net income is $100,000 or more, the custodial parent can seek support payments over and above the guidelines.

Many other factors such as domestic violence may also affect the amount and terms of the support order.

The most recent child support guidelines became effective on October 1, 2021. The guidelines can be found here.

Both parents have a duty to support their children financially. The key factors that determine who pays support and how much are:

  • The number of children the parents have. Some parents may have children from prior relationships. These children also deserve support from the biological or adoptive parent.
  • The combined income of the parents.
  • The amount of time each child spends with each parent.

The parent who has custody of the child the most is called the custodial or primary residential parent. This is the parent who receives the child support payments. The other parent, the noncustodial parent, is the parent that pays child support.

The guidelines generally let parents input certain information (the number of children, the income of the parents, and the time each child spends with each parent) to arrive at a suggested child support amount.

Noncustodial parents paying child support should realize that the duty to pay child support is an entirely separate issue from visitation. If you believe your ex-spouse is interfering with your visitation rights, don’t withhold child support. See a child support attorney immediately to enforce your visitation rights while continuing to financially support your child.

How is income determined when calculating child support?

Income generally consists of each parent’s wages, business income, and commissions. It also includes Social Security retirement payments, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, spousal support from someone other than the two parents of the child whose support amount is being decided, capital gains, and other income.

Income generally does not include child support payments from other parents for other children, the child’s income (if any), and public assistance payments.

The income of each parent is combined. The guidelines then set a specific total amount of child support the child should receive. The noncustodial parent pays a percentage of the guideline amount – adjusted based on the payor’s income compared to the payee’s income and the proportional amount of parenting time.

What special considerations may affect the terms of a child support order?

Some of the factors that could alter the amount of child support payments are the amount needed to pay for health and dental insurance for the child and any recurring or unusual medical expenses for the child.

Generally, similar calculations to the guideline payments are used to determine the amount the noncustodial parent should pay for these additional expenses.

The family court judge will also adjust the amount of support if he/she believes a parent is deliberately reducing the amount of their income in order to have to pay less child support. The family judge will “impute” the correct income amount.

Other factors that may affect the amount of child support payments include:

  • Extra educational expenses for the child
  • Expenses for various cultural, athletic, or social expenses
  • Any unusual health expenses of the parents

How are child support orders enforced?

Normally, the obligor parent makes the child support payments through a county office or by having the employer deduct the child support payments.

If a parent is in arrears on the child support payments, the spouse who is entitled to the payments can request a hearing, with the help of an experienced Franklin child support lawyer, to order the obligor spouse to pay the arrears within a specific time. In some cases, a parent could be ordered to prison for failing to pay child support.

When does the duty to pay child support end?

Generally, the duty to pay child support ends when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Parents can agree to pay child support for children enrolled in college or a trade school after they turn 18.

Can a child support order be modified?

Either parent can seek to modify an existing child support order if there is a significant change in circumstances of either parent or the child. The changes must be large. Orders won’t be changed if one spouse’s income increases or decreases by $10/week but might change if the increase/decrease is $100/week.

Changes can include income changes, health changes, new children, a child who was entitled to support is now emancipated, and a prison sentence of 180 days or more.

Do you have a child support lawyer near me?

The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates meets parents at three convenient Tennessee locations.

  • Franklin Office: 219 3rd Ave N
  • Columbia Office: 604 N High St
  • Brentwood Office: 1616 Westgate Cir #363

Alternate arrangements, such as video conferences, may be considered. For 30 years, we’ve helped ensure children receive the financial support they deserve.

Contact a child support lawyer who serves Williamson County

Parents can trust the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates to protect their rights in child support disputes. For service throughout central Tennessee, call today or use our convenient form to schedule your free initial consultation. Divorce and separation are already hard enough on children. We help children receive the financial child support they need based on their parents’ income.