The Internal Revenue Service recognizes that raising children is expensive and extends valuable exemptions and tax credits to parents in Tennessee. When parents divorce or separate, they cannot share in the tax benefits of claiming a child as a dependent. Only one parent can claim the child as a dependent. The IRS will not recognize any agreements or court orders that attempt to spread the tax benefits between divorced parents.
When two parents are not raising a child together, whether because of a breakup or because they were never in a relationship, the noncustodial parent may be required to pay child support to the custodial parent. The underlying idea behind child support is that parents have an obligation to support their biological children.
The Family Support Act requires lawmakers in Tennessee and around the country to set up state systems to enforce child support orders and collect delinquent payments, but efforts to comply with the 1995 law have often met with little success. The systems in many states are hampered by problems with technology and provide little in the way of useful information, and noncustodial parents who are struggling to make ends meet are paying the price. A new budget proposal addresses this issue by earmarking $63 million to establish a national system that could then be used by the states.
Tennessee music fans may have heard about the child support dispute involving rapper Kodak Black. The star, who has been engaged in a lengthy court battle with a Florida woman, was recently ordered to pay $4,200 per month in child support for his 2-year-old son.
Child support is the leading cause of wage garnishment in the U.S. When a Tennessee parent does not comply with a court order for child support, he or she may face wage garnishment. Garnishments can create a major strain on employees who lose expected income.
When figuring out child custody matters, some Tennessee residents may be required to undergo DNA testing if questions about parentage exist. With very high accuracy rates, DNA testing can be used to secure child support from a father. A man who does not think he is a child's father could also use testing to relieve his support obligations.
If a Tennessee resident is going to use a child support calculator, he or she should understand that it is only an estimate. The calculator generally only incorporates basic information such as how much a parent makes each year in addition to taking other benefits into consideration. The calculator may also be flawed because it may be difficult for a parent to determine how much time is spent with a child.
Tennessee parents who pay child support might need to have the amount modified if their financial situation changes adversely. This could happen because of an unexpected medical emergency or a job loss. However, parents who stop paying support will continue to owe arrears until a court has made the modification. These arrears cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Therefore, a parent should make it a priority to request the modification. The parent might want to seek legal advice about how to do so.
Tennessee parents who are getting a divorce come to a child support agreement in a variety of ways. In some cases, agreements may be made through informal talks between the parents on their own or with their respective attorneys present. However, it is also possible that agreements are made after taking part in mediation or other processes.
Parents in Tennessee who receive or pay child support should be aware of changes to the online federal portal used by employers to process withholding orders. They should also know of the upcoming changes with the official income-withholding form.