Mt. Juliet and Lebanon TN
Unexpected events can affect your finances, even when you use a budget. Child support is an unwavering expense for divorced parents with children. However, when financial problems arise, you may wonder if you can change the child support amount, whether you pay or receive it. Our Mt. Juliet child support attorney at the Law Office of Yancy Belcher says Tennessee payors and payees may adjust child support if they show a significant and material change since the court enacted the initial support plan. Today on the blog, we explain how the Tennessee family court calculates child support to determine if financial changes are significant enough to warrant a change.
Tennessee Child Support Determination
Understanding how a court views a modification petition requires reviewing the initial support plan. Tennessee’s courts follow child support guidelines to provide some consistency. Because each court considers the same elements, developing a support plan and understanding necessary changes is easy.
Support Guidelines require family courts to consider each party’s income. Paychecks, self-employment income, commissions or tips, stocks, 401(k)s, bank accounts, social security, workers’ comp, and other government payments qualify. Your IRS form will affect child support.
The court finds the plan “correct” but “rebuttable.” Either spouse can request a different payment schedule, but they must justify it. Change the first plan if you or your spouse have higher-than-normal medical costs due to an accident or new health condition.
Tennessee courts consider a spouse’s other children. If the payer has previous children, the court may reduce the amount. After considering these factors, a divorce settlement includes child support. Changing this plan needs court approval. The courts must see a change in circumstances that causes one parent difficulty and apply a variance test.
Tennessee Variance Test
When a parent’s monthly income changes by 15%, courts can adjust child support by 15%. The court may approve a change based on the variance test if the paying parent gets promoted. In addition, new medical or school expenses can lead to authorized adjustments.
Tennessee halves the variance test to 7.5% for parents who are unemployed or underemployed based on education and experience and have a low income to qualify for the lower variance test measure. Unemployed or underemployed parents must be involuntarily unemployed or underemployed. A parent’s job loss won’t affect child support payments, even if they choose a lower-paying but more rewarding job, says our Hermitage child support attorney. If any of these conditions result in a modified support order, a court may require the parent to show evidence of job search efforts and revert to the previous payment schedule.
Measuring Changed Circumstances
Substantial change may be less measurable but affects agreements. Remarrying doesn’t change the plan, for example. However, having another child can reduce child support payments. Also, jailed parents could seek a child support adjustment after 180 days.
Tennessee Child Support Modification Order
You and the other parent may make a new payment plan, which makes changes less controversial, but you must follow legal procedures for enforcement. Many divorced parents co-parent amicably. If one child has a severe accident and needs medical care and therapy, the paying parent may need to chip in. The stay-at-home parent may accept less pay if the working parent gets laid off.
Amicable agreements are outstanding but not legal so either party can back out at any time. Private contracts between spouses are not enforceable by the courts.
Last, contact our Nashville child support attorney to file a court request for an adjustment. The court may require a discovery phase when one parent gives the other parent’s attorney financial and other facts. Discovery goes beyond a contract. Once completed, parents know each other’s finances, reducing deceit claims.
A court may evaluate how the agreement affects the child’s best interests during litigation. You know your child’s best interests best. Neutral third parties may spot problems others miss. Having a judge validate your agreement reduces future disputes.
Nashville area, including Hermitage and Mt. Juliet, TN
Changing your child support plan is a delicate matter requiring an Mt. Juliet child support attorney who knows the law and court procedures and illustrates client and child sympathy. With a lawyer’s help, child support is adjustable if you or your ex-spouse’s financial situation changes. If you need a child support lawyer to review your case and proposed changes, call the Law Office of Yancy Belcher at (615) 773-2889 or contact us online.