The Tennessee General Assembly has enacted caps for interest on late child support payments. For arrearages occurring on or after April 17, 2017, there is no interest on late payments unless the trial court makes a specific finding that an award of interest is appropriate. The statute does not specify what factors the court should consider. The interest awarded cannot exceed four percent (4 %). T.C.A. § 36-5-101(f)(1). Judgments for arrearages incurred before April 17, 2017, accrue interest at the rate of twelve percent (12%) annually.
In another legislative move that minimizes the consequences for failing to pay child support, there is now a presumptive five (5) year cap on retroactive child support awards after paternity is established. T.C.A. § 36-3-211(a)(11)(G). The cap applies to all actions filed for retroactive child support on or after July 1, 2017. The trial court can go back further than five years, but the burden is on the custodial parent to show good cause exists to do so. Three examples of good cause are listed in the statute, but are meant to be illustrative, not exclusive grounds. The cap cannot be applied to retroactive awards owed to the Department of Human Services.