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Modifying Your Child Support Order After a Divorce or Paternity Case

In many divorces and paternity cases, child support plays a key role. The outcome of your child support case could have a significant impact on your financial stability and the resources your child receives to pursue opportunities such as education and extracurricular activities.

Over time, you may want (or need) to modify the amount of child support you receive or pay. Understanding how child support modification laws work in Tennessee can help you achieve that objective and obtain a more equitable arrangement for yourself and your child.

Why Should I Modify a Child Support Order?

If you experience a "significant variance" in your circumstances that renders your current child support arrangement unsustainable or ineffective, you may want to consider filing for an order modification.

Some common changes in circumstances include:

  • One of the parties involved in the order has another child or must support another child;
  • The support recipient marries another partner and no longer requires the support;
  • The support provider or recipient experiences a change in income that increases or decreases the amount of child support they can fairly expect to pay or receive;
  • A child involved in an order has some sort of accident or becomes disabled, and as a result, requires more resources to have a good quality of life.

Filing for an order modification based on an increase or decrease in income is perhaps the most common reason to require a support order modification. To file for an income-based modification, a party's income must change by 15% compared to the initial order (or 7.5% for low-income recipients and providers).

How Do Order Modifications Work?

The Tennessee Department of Human Services will conduct a review of both parties to determine whether a support modification is, in fact, necessary.

This process involves several steps, including requiring both parties to fill out an Affidavit of Income and Expenses that accurately discloses their current income and financial capabilities.

The Department of Human Services will also conduct any investigations necessary to determine whether the child is in a position to need increased support, or either party has taken other actions (such as becoming involved in another support case) that render the original order invalid.

At Casey, Simmon & Bryant, PLLC, we'll work with you to help you file for an order modification and receive the resources you and your child deserve.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (731) 256-0023.