Believe it or not, if you were divorced in a Tennessee court in the last 5-10 years, your parenting plan probably states that each parent has to provide the other parent with his or her W-2s and 1099s by February 15 of each year, and with his or her Form 1040 by April 15. Parents are also required to exchange proof of work-related childcare costs each year. Refusal to do so upon request could be contempt of court, and if he or she refuses to produce the documentation, there are other means available to obtain it.
Determining whether one party is entitled to a child support modification (increase or decrease) is a multi-step process:
- Determine each party's income, health insurance costs for covering the child, and days per year of parenting time. Also, determine whether any children covered under the previous order are no longer "minor children" because they have attained the age of 18, graduated high school, and have no disabilities. Sometimes determining all of these factors is easy; other times, it can be quite complicated.
- Prepare an Income Shares Worksheet utilizing all of the new information.
- In line 13a of the Income Shares Worksheet, enter the existing child support amount.
- If the amount that populates in line 13c of the Worksheet is greater than the amount that populates in line 13b, then a modification may be warranted, and you should consider filing a petition to modify.
Although you could potentially run these calculations yourself, it is probably best to have an attorney run them for you and advise you of all the possible ramifications of filing a petition to modify. I offer free, relatively brief telephone consultations regarding child support modification matters, and I serve Shelby, Fayette, and Tipton Counties in southwest Tennessee. My contact information is listed at the top of this page, and I would love to hear from you if you're interested in increasing the amount of child support you receive or decreasing the amount of child support you pay.