Tennessee parents will sometimes find it necessary to modify a child support order. A child support modification happens when an alternative residential parent (ARP) retains the obligations to pay support to the primary residential parent. The thing that changes is the amount of the payments.
These modifications are possible only when the parent requesting the modification is able to demonstrate a “significant variance.” The Child Support Guidelines of the state defines a significant variance as:
- A change in the ARP’s income of at least 15%
- A change in the number of children for which the ARP needs to pay support
- A child who is receiving support’s long-term illness or disability
- A voluntary agreement by both parents
The state will allow child support modifications in cases that require more support to sustain a child’s health without regard to significant variance.
The gross income of both parents is necessary to calculate the amount of monthly child support payments. Therefore, it only makes sense that the first step in modifying a child support order is providing accurate and up-to-date information regarding income. A current W-2 or tax return for both parents is often enough to satisfy this requirement. When a custodial parent does not possess the other parent’s income information, he or she can petition the court to obtain income information.
Submitting a child support modification request
Parents who wish to modify a child support order often work with a lawyer when it becomes necessary to submit a modification petition. This petition must include the legal and factual basis of the request. Once the applicable county clerk’s office receives the petition, the other parent will receive notice of the modification request.
Matters relating to child support can become a bit complicated due to the financial and emotional implications involved. Parents with questions about child support issues may find it helpful to speak with an attorney.