Is it Possible to Modify Child Support Orders in Sumner County, Tennessee?
As parents, we are responsible for raising our children well and providing what we can. After a divorce, some of these decisions are made for us with child custody and child support arrangements. Whether or not you are the custodial parent, you may want to see those child support arrangements modified.
It is possible to modify a previously agreed-upon child support arrangement later. However, there are many steps in this process, and every state has its laws for how to go about modifying child support court orders. Not every request to modify child support orders will be deemed justifiable and valid. Only certain reasons are acceptable grounds for modifications. Even if you meet one of these requirements, you still need to go through the court process, which can be difficult, especially if you and your ex-spouse do not get along.
When pursuing child support modifications in Sumner County, please contact our law firm for our experience in legal representation. We pride ourselves on providing clients with compassionate and dedicated legal services, and we rise to the occasion when situations become contested and extra challenging.
What Factors Affect Child Support Decisions?
Several factors will help the family law judge decide on child support arrangements. These factors may include:
- Health insurance for the children.
- How many children and their ages.
- How much of an adjustment it’ll be for the children living with one parent instead of the other.
- Special needs considerations for the child.
- The cost of daycare in times when neither parent can be present.
- The living arrangements for the children.
- The monthly income of both parents.
- The personal wishes of the parents and the children will also be considered.
- The relationship and bond between parent and child.
- Unusual visitation schedules.
- Whether or not other dependents live in the home with the children.
- In Tennessee, it is necessary to continue paying child support payments until the child reaches the age of 18.
What Are Considered Valid Reasons for Modifying Child Support Arrangements?
When requesting child support modifications in Tennessee, it is necessary to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances financially, personally, or medically. These circumstances did not exist when the Child Support orders were first issued, and if they did exist, the Child Support orders would have been different. Additionally, it must be shown that these new circumstances could not have been foreseen at the time of the original court orders, that the unique circumstances are not of a temporary nature, and that they caused a major shift in the way of life for the individuals affected.
Only certain changes in circumstance are accepted grounds for child support modifications. Common examples may include:
- A significant increase in the custodial parent’s income may constitute cause for child support modifications. In some cases, the non-custodial parent may also wish to pay more child support if they suddenly have more income than they did previously.
- Changes in parenting time may constitute a need for modifying the child support orders.
- Either parent inherits a large amount of wealth and assets.
- One of the parents becomes incarcerated.
- Serious health issues may also be considered valid causes for child support order modifications. If the non-custodial parent becomes ill for a long period, incapacitated, or disabled, they may not be able to support themselves financially, let alone pay child support.
- The custodial parent enters a relationship that involves cohabitation with another adult, or they remarry.
- The non-custodial parent loses a good chunk of their estate due to a seizure of assets.
- The non-custodial parent’s driver’s license gets revoked or suspended.
- The loss of a job can significantly affect one’s ability to pay child support. If the noncustodial parent loses their primary source of income, they may have acceptable grounds to request child support modifications.
- There are changes to the child’s needs, whether medical, psychological, or educational, and child support needs to reflect these changes.
How to Request a Modification to Your Child Support Agreement?
There are three ways to request a modification to your child support agreement: filing a petition with the court, requesting an agency review, and agreeing with your ex-spouse.
Petition the Court: Either parent may formally request the court to modify the existing child support agreement. Usually, this filing will be submitted in the same court where the old child support orders originated. When you file your motion, you must explain the changes in circumstances and why child support must be modified. The court will then schedule a hearing to consider the evidence and render a decision.
Child Support Agency Review: Parents are automatically entitled to agency reviews every three years. However, you may be able to request an earlier review if you have undergone substantial changes in circumstances. Contact our law firm for assistance in applying for an agency review.
Modification Agreement: Even if the other parent agrees to your new terms for child support, you are legally required to continue paying the old terms until the court has approved the changes. Any changes you make with your ex-spouse must be submitted to a family law court, where the judge will review the changes and decide if they are in the child’s interests.
What Are Common Mistakes Some Fathers Make?
Even if your circumstances have changed, you must continue paying the agreed-upon amount for child support until the court agrees to the modifications.
Never hide or lie about your income.
If you have changes to income or employment, report those changes immediately.
Don’t make child support payments under the table or outside the court’s agreed-upon methods.
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
Garner Law Firm prides itself on providing legal services with compassion and empathy. We understand this is a challenging situation and hope to help you to the most satisfactory conclusion.
To speak with our legal team, please contact our law firm to schedule a free initial consultation. (615) 527-5202.