When you have children, your relationship with your spouse does not end with the final divorce decree. You will need to have continued contact with your spouse about child support, parenting time, and other parental responsibilities. For the sake of your children, you want to keep open the lines of communication with your spouse. Your goal should be that your children are not the losers in your separation.
The Nashville child custody and support attorneys of MTR Family Law, PLLC have spent three decades helping families throughout Tennessee with their child support and custody issues. We know how sensitive these matters can be for all parties involved and will work hard to make sure the wellbeing of your children is considered in any decision you make.
Child support is money paid to the custodial parent for the support, maintenance, and education of the children. Voluntary gifts and payment of rent, which benefit the child when the child is with you, may not be considered support. The court does not require the custodial parent to account for the support. Child support ceases with emancipation of the child by state law or can continue as agreed by the parties.
Tennessee has guidelines by which courts determine support. The guidelines contain tables that consider the gross incomes of both parents paying support and the number of children. Arrangements with a more equal time-sharing arrangement are calculated differently.
Child support orders may be enforceable by a variety of means, such as wage attachment, execution, liens on the property, or contempt. They are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, but unpaid support may be collectible for only a limited time, by statute.
Issues involving minor children consist of two distinct concepts—decision-making and timesharing. Both or one of the parents may be responsible for making decisions affecting the children. Timesharing refers to the amount of time each parent will spend with the children.
The court determines custody based on what it believes to be the best interests of the children. The court considers all relevant factors, including the following, as set out in T.C.A. 36-6-106, where applicable:
Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, the court has jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination regarding a minor child or may modify a prior order of child custody upon finding that the custodial parent has been convicted of or found civilly liable for the intentional and wrongful death of the child’s other parent or legal guardian.
Until emancipation of the child, the court has the power to modify parenting time, decision-making, and child support whenever circumstances make such change proper. The same factors used in making the initial award are considered for modification. Modification generally requires a significant change of circumstances.
These factors could result in a shift in the primary residential arrangement, time allocation, or an increase or decrease in the support obligation. Remarriage of either parent does not automatically result in a change of circumstances.
Child support and custody can be a complicated situation that needs a deft hand to guide you through the process. We can help.