Child Support Laws in Tennessee

By Tom Streissguth

The state of Tennessee provides for child support payments in cases where couples with minor children are divorcing. State law and guidelines set the amount of support, as well as the enforcement mechanism for collecting past-due support payments, health insurance payments, and reimbursement of uncovered medical expenses.

State Agencies

The Tennessee Department of Human Services administers the state's child support program. The Child Support Receipting Unit in Nashville processes child support payments, which are set by the court and given in a final divorce decree. The custodial spouse can ask the DHS child support enforcement agency to locate missing payors, establish paternity, modify support orders or collect past-due child support with garnishment orders issued by the courts.

Families First

Anyone enrolled in the state's public health program known as Families First must assign any child support payments to the program. The state uses the child support to reimburse the Families First benefits, then passes on any excess amount -- known as a "pass through payment" -- directly to the custodial parent. State law also requires that any parents that have enrolled in Families First send any support payments received directly from the non-custodial parent to the state. The state will review the child support amount every three years and may modify the amount if circumstances change.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Appeals

Either parent can appeal a decision or order in a child support case, or an administrative action taken by the state child-support agency. Parents can petition to modify support orders or change any adverse action by the child support agency; the latter appeal carries an appeal deadline of 15 days from the date of the order. In the case of a license revocation, the deadline is 20 days. Petitioners file appeals with the Division of Appeals and Hearings in Nashville; this agency then sets a date for a hearing on the matter, which usually takes place by telephone.

Enforcement Actions

Tennessee law allows for a variety of actions by child-support agencies in the case of past-due or unpaid child support. These include diverting federal tax refunds or other federal benefits such as Social Security payments; denying an application for a passport; an order of garnishment of wages; or seizure of assets such as money from a bank account. Those falling behind on child support in Tennessee also risk having their driver's license suspended or revoked.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Happens When You Don't Pay Child Support in Illinois?

References

Resources

Related articles

Laws Concerning Back Child Support in Indiana

When unmarried, separated or divorced couples have children together, financial issues often become a source of stress or confusion. If the parent paying child support in Indiana — generally, the non-custodial parent — fails to pay or falls behind on payments, the custodial parent may need to pursue enforcement. Although parents can choose to make an informal financial arrangement, a court order increases the number of legal options available.

Penalties for Child Support Arrears in California

Falling behind in child support payments under a divorce order can lead to the initiation of enforcement proceedings against a noncustodial parent in the state of California. While this process often involves the Department of Child Services, certain private agencies, attorneys or the other parent can also begin the action. In some cases, penalties for nonpayment can include wage garnishment and suspension of drivers' or professional licenses, as well as tax liens and even jail time. However, if certain circumstance have been met, the noncustodial parent may be entitled to a reduction of the child support amounts by asking the court via a petition for a modification.

Alabama Child Support Arrears Laws

Child support is awarded to a custodial parent to provide financial assistance with a child's basic needs, including food, clothing and shelter. Support is generally owed until the child turns 18. When a non-custodial parent does not pay as ordered, the owed support becomes past due, or in arrears. In Alabama, the Department of Human Resources' Child Support Enforcement Program aids custodial parents in the collection of child support arrearages.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

California Laws on the Interception of a Tax Refund for Child Support Arrears

If you have a child support order under California law, you have the right to have the order enforced through tax ...

Federal Guidelines on the Collection of Child Support Arrears

In 1975 Congress passed the Child Support Enforcement and Paternity Establishment Program, or CSE, in response to ...

Child Support Laws in Washington, DC

In the District of Columbia, child support laws are enforced by the Child Support Services division of the Office of ...

Child Support Laws in Georgia

Georgia's Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services, is responsible for enforcing the state's ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED