In Tennessee, in divorce cases and paternity cases, you must complete a parenting plan. In a contested case, the Judge normally chooses on parties proposed parenting plan, whith changes, and incorporates that plan into the Final Decree. In an uncontested divorce, the parties will normally agree on a parenting. As part of that parenting plan, each parent is designated a certain number of days. There are several ways this can look. When their is joint parenting, each parent gets 182.5 days. When one of the parents is chosen as the primary residential parent, the other party is considered the alternate and recieves visitation. This will be some variation of days (ex. 270 for the PRP and 95 for ARP).
As part of the plan, child support will be ordered. Although the parents of the minor children can agree to deviate the child support, the trend among the courts has been to strickly follow the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines. In Tennessee, Child Support is set by using an income shares model. This means that both parents income is considered for the child support calculation. Under the Guidelines, most income will be considered for the parents’ gross income. There are some exceptions, but essentially, the idea is that the child is the one recieving support, so all forms of income should be considered. In addition, the child support guidelines also take into consideration whether or not either parent is paying child support for other children or has live at home children. Each parent’s contribution to health and dental care is considered. The day care is factored in. Once all of these things have been factored into the child support calculator, it spits out a number.
In order to change child suport later, there must be a fifteen percent variance in the amount of child support. This can be an upward or a downward change. Generally, the Courts will review this only after a six month period has elapsed.