A new child support worksheet became effective in Tennessee on May 10, 2020. The new child support worksheet is long overdue as this is the first substantial revision in nearly Fifteen (15) years which is when the income share approach came into effect in Tennessee. While the revisions are not monumental, the revisions include tightening of definitions and gray areas with respect to child support. So what do you need to know with respect to the new provisions? Perhaps one of the most impactful changes to the worksheet is that a parent can now receive credit for portion of the health insurance premium paid by a stepparent. The change seems long overdue – prior to May 10, 2020, a parent required to provide health insurance for a minor child may have a better health insurance plan through his/her spouse but if the parent used the spouse’s plan, then the family received no credit on the worksheet if a stepparent carried the health insurance even though the family unit was absorbing the expense. The revision corrects this disparity.
An area where litigants and litigators see a failure is that the new worksheet did not increase the cap on support awards as to high income parents. It seems that children of wealthy parents are disadvantaged under the guidelines. For example, the cap for one child of a high-income parent remains at $2100. However, children of lower income parents did see the minimum child support order increased to $100 per month and the imputed gross income increased for both males and females in Tennessee by over $6,000 a year. The revisions are somewhat disparate in their application of the economics of Tennesseans over the last Fifteen (15) years.
Parents are also now able to receive credit for a “day” by combining co-parenting time. Under the old guidelines, you had to have your child greater than Twelve (12) hours per day for the time to count as a credit. Now, you may combine blocks of time to gain credit for time. This seems a move in the right direction as some parents care for minor children while the other parent works but gets no economic assistance.
If you have questions regarding your child support and whether you are entitled to an increase or decrease of support, please feel free to call our office at 865-233-1105 in order to schedule a free consultation.