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How are child support payments determined in Tennessee?

The tensions that may still exist between you and your ex-spouse following your divorce in Bartlett might make it easy to suspect that he or she will try to somehow punish you by asking for an inordinate amount of child support. Fortunately, it is the state that determines your child support obligation. Tennessee follows the "income shares" model when it comes to the payment of child support, which means that payments are calculated based off two factors: yours and your ex-spouse's net incomes and the number of children you have. 

When determining your net income, the court considers all money made through:

  • Salaries and wages
  • Tips and commissions
  • Pensions and retirement plans
  • Unemployment or Social Security benefits
  • Capital gains on investments
  • Alimony from a previous marriage

It is then determined how much of your joint monthly income you contribute to. For example, if your net monthly income is $3000 and your spouse's is $2000, then you contribute 60 percent to the $5000 overall total. That is the percentage of the child support obligation that you will be required to pay (if you are the non-custodial parent).

Your monthly income is then compared to the number of children you have using the state's child support obligation schedule. If you have three kids, then your monthly net income of $5000 requires a child support obligation of $1266 per month. Your 60 percent share of yours and your spouse's joint monthly income would require you to pay $759.60 per month in child support. Keep in mind, however, that this amount may increase in order to share the costs of the kids' health and dental care. Your required percentage of those costs is determined in the same way your child support obligation is, with that amount added on to your basic monthly payment. 

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