Tennessee’s Child Support Guidelines were amended effective May 10, 2020. The new Guidelines can be found here. The changes are expected to lead to a number of petitions to the courts to modify the child support amount because they change the way child support is calculated. Petitions to modify child support based on the new Guidelines will be limited through November 9, 2020. Parties petitioning for a change before that date must show a “change in circumstances” that justify the change in the support amount. It is not enough to only show the new number would be 15% more or less than the current number because of the way the new child support number is calculated. On and after November 10, 2020, that will be enough.
Changes found in the new Guidelines include a more expansive definition and details of what counts as “gross income” and greater guidance on what to consider when calculating imputed income for a parent, meaning income the parent could be expected to earn with reasonable effort. Absent a disability or similar factor that prevents a parent from working, the new Guidelines will impute a minimum income of $43,761 for a father and $35,936 for a mother.
There have also been changes made to the way health insurance credits are determined when calculating child support. Perhaps one of the most significant changes is contributions toward health insurance made by a stepparent can now be credited to his or her spouse.
Now is a good time for any parent receiving or paying child support to revisit the child support calculator and take a look at the new child support worksheet to figure out whether a change in child support is warranted.