Tennessee Child Support: Income Shares Model, Calculators and Payment Summaries

September 5th, 2009

Payment  Child support tennessee LawTennessee Child Support Law: The Income Shares Model When parents separate, there is always a threat to the well-being of their children. Since children have a legal right to be supported by their parents, the US Congress mandated the creation of child support agencies in 1975, in order to ensure that children receive the financial aid they are entitled to. In Tennessee, it is the Department of Human Service (DHS) that is responsible for enforcing the child support program.

Child support guidelines in Tennessee are based on an Income Shares Model of the Child Support Services Division of the Tennessee DHS. This model presumes that both parents offer financial support to their child in pro rata, or the proportion of one parent’s support obligation to the whole support obligation. This model differs from the prior Flat Percentage Model, which computed the child support basing on the net income of the non-custodial parent, and assumed that the custodial parent provides an equivalent amount of child support, financial or in-kind. In the current model, both of the parents’ income are taken into account and made part of the support order. Just like other child support guidelines, the Income Shares Model imposes that a child’s standard of living in this state should not be adversely affected because of the family disruption, and that these children should have access to the same opportunities that children in intact families have.

The gross income includes all incomes from all sources, whether or not earned, and includes wages, salaries, tips, commissions, self-employment incomes, bonuses, severance pay, overtime pay, pensions, dividend incomes, trust incomes, capital gains, unemployment insurance, lottery winnings, gifts that are convertible to cash, and many more. This is adjusted for self-employed parents and other qualified children. For a certain amount of combined adjusted gross income, there will be an equivalent child support schedule, which is actually an established dollar amount of child support obligations that correspond to different levels of parents’ combined adjusted gross income. This child support schedule is then used in determining the basic child support obligation, which includes housing, food, and transportation expenses, as well as clothing and entertainment expenditures, although the last two account for a very small proportion compared to the first three. There is a set minimum basic child support obligation upon which a child support obligation is established, and this amount is one hundred dollars monthly.

Tennessee Child Support Calculators and Worksheets There are available automated web-style calculators and child support worksheets that simplify the calculation of child support orders in Tennessee. This child support worksheets are required to implement the child support order determination and to ensure uniformity in the computation. There are six parts in these worksheets, namely: identification, adjustments of gross income, each parent’s share of the basic child support obligation, adjustments for additional expenses, presumptive child support order or modification of current support, and lastly, deviations and final child support obligation. The completed worksheet is maintained as part of the official record.

Tennessee Child Support Payment Summary The Child Supports Services Division of DHS offers a number of services regarding Tennessee child support payments. For one, payments can be made online, but in order to use this service, one has to have the Tennessee Child Support Enforcement System case number, the Social Security number, and the name of the non-custodial parent. Any valid credit card from a recognized financial institution in the USA may be used. There is also the option of direct deposit of child support payments to an existing bank account in order to speed up and simplify the disbursement of child support. This can either be a checking or a savings account. Lastly, there is an available Tennessee electronic access card, which is actually a VISA debit card, used to access one’s child support payments. It provides a convenient and rather secure means to receive child support payments.