The following is a summary of Tennessee child support laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Tennessee Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Child Support Guidelines.

Upon the dissolution of a marriage, the court may make an order and decree for the suitable support and maintenance of the children by either spouse or out of such spouse’s property, according to the nature of the case and the circumstances of the parties. In making the court’s determination concerning the amount of support of any minor child of the parties, the court shall apply the child support guidelines as a rebuttable presumption. If the court finds that evidence is sufficient to rebut this presumption, the court shall make a written finding that the application of the child support guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in that particular case, in order to provide for the best interest of the children, or the equity between the parties.

-From Section 36-5-101 of the Tennessee Code.

Income Withholding.

The court shall order an immediate assignment of the obligor’s income. The order of assignment shall issue regardless of whether support payments are in arrears on the effective date of the order. In the event the court does not order an immediate assignment, every order shall be enforceable by income assignment as provided in this chapter. Income assignment shall not be required if there is a written agreement by both parties that provides for alternative arrangements. Such agreement must be reviewed by the court and entered in the record. In such cases, income withholding will still be issued, however if the obligor becomes in arrears [is late in making payments].

-From Section 36-5-501 of the Tennessee Code.

Termination of Child Support Obligation.

Parents shall continue to be responsible for the support of each child after the child reaches 18 years of age if the child is still in high school. The duty of support shall continue until the child graduates from high school or the class of which the child is a member when the child attains 18 years of age graduates, whichever occurs first.

The court may continue child support for the benefit of a child who is handicapped or disabled, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, until such child reaches 21 years of age. Provided, that such age limitation shall not apply if such child is severely disabled and living under the care and supervision of a parent, and the court determines that it is in the child’s best interest to remain under such care and supervision and that the obligor is financially able to continue to pay child support. In such cases, the court may require the obligor to continue to pay child support for such period as it deems in the best interest of the child.

-From Section 34-1-102 of the Tennessee Code.


This information has been summarized from the Tennessee statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Tennessee divorce statutes online here: Tennessee Divorce Laws.




IMPORTANT: Help Yourself Divorce is a paralegal service, not a law firm. Please don’t rely on this information for legal advice. Seek help from an attorney if you need legal advice.


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