Child and Spousal Support

Every time I meet with a client, one of their primary concerns is their children, and the other is their future financial situation.  Both spouses have concerns when it comes to how much support will be paid to or by the other.  Tennessee law ensures that both of the spouses and their children have the support necessary to accommodate their basic needs after the divorce is final.

I represent clients who pay support, and I represent clients who receive it.  Typically, the higher wage earner pays support, but there are many variables that determine who pays it and how much.  My goal is to make sure you get the best available outcome.

Child Support in Tennessee

Tennessee law provides a set of guidelines that govern how child support is determined.  There is a worksheet and a calculator that the court uses to determine the amount of support that will be required.  The worksheet takes into account both parents’ income, the amount of time each parent spends with the child or children, and other important expenses such as day care and health insurance.  The courts can make an upward or downward deviation on child support based on special circumstances, like private school tuition or a child’s special physical or educational needs.

Child support can start when one parent files a request with the court.  This may be after the divorce is filed but before it is final.  This is called a temporary support order.  Child support ends when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later.  There may be unique circumstances, such as a child who has special needs, in which the court requires support to continue past age 18.

Spousal Support in Tennessee

Tennessee provides for spousal support, also known as alimony, under state law.  Courts can award temporary support for a spouse while the divorce is pending, based generally on that spouse’s financial needs. When determining permanent support, the court looks at a list of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The education and/or career of both spouses

Tennessee recognizes four types of spousal support:

  • Alimony in futuro
  • Alimony in solido
  • Rehabilitative alimony
  • Transitional alimony

The court may award, or the parties may agree to, one or more of these types of support.  Spousal support is taxable to the payor and nontaxable to the payee.  The types of support courts award and the situations in which they award them are highly fact-specific, which is why you need a lawyer who will study your financial picture with care and diligence.  I want to ensure that you end up with a fair and reasonable order of support.

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