Calculating Tennessee Child Support
Shared Income Income Model of Child Support
Tennessee Child Support is calculated based upon the Child Support Guidelines which are written by the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Tennessee child support is now a shared income model, which means that the income of both parents is used in the calculation.
A few terms: Primary Residential Parent – this is the parent with whom the child or children spend the majority of time during the year; Alternate Residential Parent – the parent with whom the child spends the least time.
In a typical divorce the Primary Residential Parent has the child about 285 days a year, and the spends about 80 days with the Alternate Residential Parent.
The first step in the basic calculation method is to add both parent’s incomes and find the “Basic Child Support Obligation” (BSCO) for the total combined income. The BSCO for a certain income amount and number of children is set by the Department of Human Services. Each parent is assigned a proportionate share of the basic support obligation.
Example of Child Support Calculations
For example: a couple who has one child and the Mother will be the Primary Residential Parent and the Father will spend 95 days withe the child per year. Mother earns $2,000.00 per month and Father earns $3,000.00 per month, the total income is $5,000.00. Mother contributes 40% and Father contributes 60% to the total income. Mother has 40% of the child support obligation and Father has 60% of the obligation to support the child. The BSCO for a combined income of $5,000.00 and one child is $827.00 per month. The father would be responsible to pay $493.80 per month to Mother as a monthly child support obligation.
The next step in the calculation is to determine the number of days the child or children spend with the Alternate Residential Parent and to calculate any parenting time adjustments (+/-) to the BSCO. The BSCO is formulated with the “standard” parenting time between 80-90 days, so if the the child spends more than 90 days a year with the ARP there will be a credit subtracted from the support obligation. If the child spends less than 70 days with the ARP then the child support obligation is increased. From our example the Father would receive a credit of $13.53 per month to be subtracted from his monthly support obligation.
The next step is to determine each parent’s share of health insurance, work related daycare, or other special expenses. The child support obligation will be increased by the payor’s share of those expenses. From our example Mother bears 40% of these expenses while Father bears 60%. Lets say that the health insurance premium is $100.00 per month for the child and the Mother carries the child on her employer’s health insurance plan. Father would be responsible for $60.00 per month for health insurance and that amount will be added to his support obligation.
In our example the Father pays: $493.80 (60% of BSCO) – $13.53 (parenting time adjustment) + $60.00 (60% of health insurance premium) for a total monthly obligation of $540.27.
Please note that the above is a representation of basic child support calculations. The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines are quite complex, and ought to be calculated by an attorney or the local child support office.
If you have questions about child support contact Purple Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.