In re: Jaiden C.W. and Caiden J.W. – Determining Income for Tennessee Child Support

Mother and Father were the unmarried parents of two minor children, both born in 2006. While the parties were still in a relationship, Father paid Mother $400 per month in child support. However, 754431_28738227when the parties broke up in October 2007, the Father stopped all child support payments. The next month, Father filed a petition to establish his paternity, requesting that he be designated the primary residential parent of both children. Mother also filed, seeking child support.

The trial court entered an order, setting Father’s Tennessee child support obligation at $329.00 per week. This initial order was a temporary one, and it based Father’s monthly gross income at $8,917.00. Mother’s income was imputed to $29,300 per year. Mother appealed the imputation of her income, but the Court declined to overturn the trial court’s decision because the Mother did not provide reliable evidence of her income or potential for earning income.

Father was unemployed for a significant period of time pending the temporary hearing. This undisputed fact was apparently disregarded by the trial court. The fairness of a child support award depends on an accurate determination of both parents’ gross monthly income or ability to support.

Furthermore, Father alleged that the Mother received credit for work-related childcare that she did not incur; that Father did not receive full credit for his payment of health insurance premiums; and that the Mother received credit for two additional children in her home.

After a complicated procedural history and two appeals, the Court of Appeals made recognized the following: While trial courts have discretion in setting child support in Tennessee, the trial courts should strive to ascertain and give effect to the parties’ actual circumstances, which will necessarily change over the course of time. For example, people remarry, have more children, insurance premiums fluctuate, and childcare needs and expenses change.

Setting child support can be a complicated process. Contact our office today to make sure your rights are protected and your child support is set appropriately.

We handle child support cases in the following cities in Tennessee: Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Columbia, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Gallatin, Hendersonville, Clarksville, Antioch, Hermitage, Donelson, Ashland City, Dickson.

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