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TENNESSEE REVISES CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

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The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is implementing revised child support guidelines this week that will help align all child support orders with changing family economics, improve the system for both custodial and noncustodial parents, and meet new federal requirements.

These are the first major changes to Tennessee’s child support guidelines since 2005. The changes include:

  • Granting noncustodial parents the right to request a modification of their child support order if they are sentenced to or currently serving more than 180 days of incarceration.
  • Allowing credit for health, vision, and dental care paid by stepparents in the child support calculations.
  • Creating a minimum child support order of $100 for noncustodial parents in some circumstances.
  • Establishing a self-support reserve for noncustodial parents to ensure they have enough resources for basic needs while fulfilling their child support obligations. Under this change, child support orders in most cases would leave the noncustodial parent with at least $1,150 a month to live on.
  • Allowing a person’s criminal record to be used to determine a parent’s income if there is no other evidence to use in child support calculations.

To ensure these revised guidelines don’t create an influx of new child support modification requests, TDHS is implementing a temporary requirement for case modifications that will remain in effect until November 10, 2020. During this time there must be a change of circumstances, such as income or number of children, in addition to at least a 15% change between the amount of the current support order and the amount of the proposed order for the case modification to be granted.


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