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Tennessee’s New Child Support Guidelines

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Tennessee’s New Child Support Guidelines. Income Shares. Purpose. Captures actual child-rearing expenses at various levels of parental income and then pro-rates these expenses between both parents. Requires consideration of the income of both parents

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purpose
Purpose
  • Captures actual child-rearing expenses at various levels of parental income and then pro-rates these expenses between both parents
  • Requires consideration of the income of both parents
    • Allows child to share in the financial resources of both parents
    • Each parent is responsible for his/her pro-rata share of the child support obligation
basic concepts
Basic Concepts
  • Custodial Parent is now referred to as the Primary Residential Parent (PRP)
  • Non-Custodial Parent is now referred to as the Alternate Residential Parent (ARP)
  • Two parenting situations
    • Standard – one PRP/ARP for all children
    • Split – two PRPs/ARPs for all children
definitions
Definitions
  • PRP – the parent with whom the child resides more than 50% of the time
  • ARP – the parent with whom the child resides less than 50% of the time
definitions1
Definitions
  • Standard Parenting – all children under the order have the same PRP and the same ARP
  • Split Parenting – one parent is the PRP/ARP for at least one child under the order and the other parent is PRP/ARP for at least one other child under the order
tools for calculation of support1
Tools for Calculation of Support
  • Worksheets
    • Child Support Worksheet – to be used in all cases for calculation of the child support obligation
    • Credit Worksheet – to be used when calculating credits for a parent’s qualified other children
    • Worksheets are Excel - based and perform all necessary calculations
    • Calculation results on the Credit Worksheet are automatically transferred to the Child Support Worksheet
tools for calculation of support2
Tools for Calculation of Support
  • Child Support Schedule – provides the child support obligation for various levels of parental income and number of children – always round up to the nearest increment of $50
gross income calculations1
Gross Income Calculations
  • Gross Income
    • From all non-exempt sources – same is in current Guidelines
    • Both parents of the child – Do not consider income of a non-parent caretaker
    • No deductions for federal income taxes or FICA contributions, except for self-employed parents – these taxes are taken into consideration on the Child Support Schedule in each child support obligation
gross income calculations2
Gross Income Calculations
  • Willful and Voluntary (Under)Unemployment –
    • Generally the same as in current Guidelines
    • Determination now applies to both parents
    • Applies to any intentional act of the parent
  • Imputed Income –
    • $ 35,851 for males
    • $ 26,450 for females
    • From American Community Survey of 2002 for full time Tennessee workers
gross income calculations3
Gross Income Calculations
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
    • Gross Income minus the following:
      • Self-employment taxes paid by the parent
      • Amounts paid on pre-existing child support orders
      • Support provided to qualified other children of the parent
    • The AGI of each parent is combined to determine the percentage of income (PI) for each parent
credits for qualified other children1
Credits for Qualified Other Children
  • Other children – are those children not presently before the tribunal for the establishment or modification of a child support order
  • Other children are qualified if:
    • The parent is legally responsible for the child’s financial support
    • The parent is actually providing financial support to the child
  • Credits are available to either parent
definitions2
Definitions
  • A person is legally responsible for a child if a child is -
    • Born of the person’s body,
    • Born of the person’s marriage,
    • The legally adopted child of the person;
    • Voluntarily acknowledged by the person, or
    • Otherwise determined to be the child of the person
credits for qualified other children2
Credits for Qualified Other Children
  • Pre-existing support orders
    • Pre-existing determined from the date the order was initially entered
    • Credit allowed for the average monthly amount actually paid 12 months prior to hearing, up to the amount of the order
    • Does not include amounts paid on arrears
credits for qualified other children3
Credits for Qualified Other Children
  • Children not subject of pre-existing child support orders
    • Credit available up to 75% of the amount of a theoretical order, using
      • Income of the parent seeking the credit
        • Credit for self-employment taxes paid
        • No credit for pre-existing orders
      • Number of qualified other children
    • Do not consider the income of or support provided by a child’s other parent
definitions3
Definitions
  • Theoretical Order –
    • A hypothetical order which allows the finder of fact to determine the amount of a child support obligation if an order existed.
    • Used to determine the amount of credit allowed as a deduction from a parent’s gross income for a parent’s qualified other child who is not under a pre-existing child support order.
credits for qualified other children4
Credits for Qualified Other Children
  • In-Home Children
    • Those qualified children who reside with the parent more than 50% of the time
    • The amount of the credit allowed for these children is 75% of a theoretical order
  • Not-In-Home Children
    • Total of all qualified children residing with the parent less than 50% of the time, without regard to the child’s primary household
    • The amount of the credit allowed for these children is the lesser of:
      • 75% of a theoretical order
      • Support actually provided – established by documentary proof
definitions4
Definitions
  • Documentary proof of monetary support -
    • Physical evidence of monetary payments to the child’s caretaker, such as canceled checks or money orders
    • Evidence of payment of child support under a subsequent child support order, such as a payment history from a tribunal clerk or child support office or from the Department’s internet child support payment history
    • “In kind” remuneration such as food, clothing, formula, or diapers is not acceptable for this credit
basic child support obligation1
Basic Child Support Obligation
  • Amount of basic support to be provided by both parents is determined on the Child Support Schedule by cross-referencing the combined adjusted gross income (AGI) of both parents with the number of children for whom support is being calculated – amount does not include
    • Adjustments for additional expenses
    • Adjustments for parenting time
    • Adjustments for deviations
    • Uninsured medical expenses
  • This amount is allocated between the parents according to the percentage of income (PI) of each parent
definitions5
Definitions
  • Percentage of Income (PI) – the PI for each parent is calculated by dividing each parent’s AGI by the combined AGI of both parents
basic child support obligation2
Basic Child Support Obligation
  • Standard Parenting – One BCSO
    • The combined gross income of both parents
    • The number of children for whom support is being calculated
basic child support obligation3
Basic Child Support Obligation
  • Split Parenting – A BCSO for each parent
    • Mother’s BCSO
      • The combined adjusted gross income for both parents
      • The number of children for whom support is being calculated for whom the Father is the PRP
      • The Mother’s PI
    • Father’s BCSO
      • The combined adjusted gross income for both parents
      • The number of children for whom support is being calculated for whom the Mother is the PRP
      • The Father’s PI
policy
Policy
  • Income Shares vs. the Flat Percentage
    • Economic studies reveal that, as income increases, the dollar amount spent on child-rearing expenses increases but the percentage of income spent on child-rearing expenses decreases
    • Accordingly, flat percentages have statistically been too low at lower incomes and too high at higher incomes
definitions6
Definitions
  • Parenting time adjustment - adjustment to the ARP’s portion of the BCSO based upon the ARP’s parenting time with the child
basic child support obligation4
Basic Child Support Obligation
  • Parenting Time Adjustment
    • Reduction to BCSO
    • Parenting time with the child greater than 120 days
      • 121 - 136 days = 10% reduction
      • 137 - 151 days = 20% reduction
      • 152 - 166 days = 30% reduction
      • 167 - 181 days = 40% reduction
      • 182+ days = 50% reduction
basic child support obligation5
Basic Child Support Obligation
  • Parenting Time Adjustment
    • Increase to BCSO
    • Parenting time with child less than 54 days
      • 53 – 39 days = 10% increase
      • 38 – 24 days = 20% increase
      • 23 – 9 days = 30% increase
      • 8 – 0 days = 35% increase
definitions7
Definitions
  • Days – a parent gets credit for a day of parenting time if the child spends the majority of a 24 hour calendar day with or under the control of a parent and that parent expends a reasonable amount of resources on the child during this time period (such as the cost of a meal or other such costs directly related to the care and supervision of the child)
treatment of expenses1
Treatment of Expenses
  • Amounts actually paid by a parent or other caretaker
  • Basic Expenses
    • Such as:
      • Food
      • Clothing
      • Housing
    • Included in the BCSO
treatment of expenses2
Treatment of Expenses
  • Additional Expenses
    • Mandatory Expenses
      • Child’s healthcare premium
        • Expense attributable only to child for whom support is being calculated
        • Allocated according to parent’s PI
        • Added on to BCSO
      • Work-related childcare
        • Projected over next 12 months and averaged for a monthly amount
        • Includes only amounts actually paid
        • Allocated according to parent’s PI
        • Added on to BCSO
treatment of expenses3
Treatment of Expenses
  • Uninsured Medical Expenses
    • No calculations on the Worksheet
    • Order shall provide for payment of expenses according to parent’s PI or as otherwise specified by the tribunal
    • Recurring amounts added to the Presumptive Child Support Order (PCSO)
definitions8
Definitions
  • Uninsured Medical Expenses - medical expenses which include, but are not limited to, health insurance co-payments, deductibles, and such other costs as are reasonably necessary for orthodontia, dental treatment, asthma treatments, physical therapy, vision care, and any acute or chronic medical/health problem, or mental illness, including counseling or other medical or mental health expenses, that are not covered by insurance.
treatment of expenses4
Treatment of Expenses
  • Extraordinary Expenses
    • May be added to the Presumptive Child Support Order as a deviation in the discretion of the tribunal
    • Extraordinary Education Expenses
    • Special Expenses - can be added to the BCSO when the expense exceeds 7% of the BCSO
summary of calculations
Summary of Calculations
  • Basic Child Support Obligation (BCSO) –
    • Obtained from the Child Support Schedule
    • Based on number of children and combined AGI of both parents
  • Adjusted Support Obligation (ASO)
    • BCSO adjusted for parenting time, the health insurance premium, and child care
summary of calculations1
Summary of Calculations
  • Presumptive Child Support Order (PCSO)
    • The ASO adjusted by the total amount of the health insurance premium and/or the work-related child care paid through payroll deduction; and/or
    • The ASO adjusted for the statutory threshold
  • Final Child Support Order (FCSO)
    • The PCSO adjusted for deviations and uninsured medical expenses
    • In the absence of such adjustments, the PCSO is the FCSO
child support order
Child Support Order
  • High-Income Threshold
    • Absent rebuttal, the PCSO is limited to the following amounts -
      • $2100 for one child
      • $3200 for two children
      • $4100 for three children
      • $4600 for four children
      • $5000 for five children
    • With rebuttal, additional amounts may be added to the PCSO as a deviation
    • Also applicable to the calculation of a theoretical order
child support order1
Child Support Order
  • Deviations
    • Must consider the best interests of child for whom support is being calculated
    • Order shall include guideline amount and findings in support of deviation
    • Reasons
      • Same as current Guidelines
      • Extraordinary Expenses
      • Rebuttal of high-income threshold
      • Low income of either parent
child support order2
Child Support Order
  • Modifications
    • Generally require a significant variance
    • No significant variance needed if
      • Providing for healthcare needs
      • Eliminating a previous deviation due to a change in circumstances
  • Retroactive Support –
    • From birth of the child or separation of the parties
    • Using Guidelines in effect at the time of the order
modification1
Modification
  • After implementation of the Rules, a significant variance is -
    • At least a 15% change in the ARP’s gross income - and/or
    • A change in the number of children for whom the ARP is legally responsible – and/or
    • The child for whom support is being calculated becoming disabled – and/or
    • The parties entering into an agreed order for modification of the support obligation in compliance with these Rules – and –
    • At least a 15% (or 7.5%) change in the support obligation
    • After January 1, 2006, a significant variance will be a 15% (or 7.5%) change in the support obligation
    • 7.5% applies to low-income parents
definitions9
Definitions
  • Low-income parent –
    • a parent who, when working at his/her full capacity according to his/her education and experience and not willfully and voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, has adjusted gross income at or below the federal poverty level for a single adult
    • The federal poverty standards will be available at www.state.tn.us/humanserv
    • Current amount is $9310 annual gross income
modification2
Modification
  • Hardship Deviation -
    • When modifying an order under Income Shares that was established under the current Guidelines
      • For the first modification, whenever it should occur
      • Can be applied only one time
    • Can limit the amount of the modification if:
      • Decrease would impair the household of the PRP
      • Increase would impair the household of the ARP
    • Deviation cannot be used in a subsequent action to create a significant variance
learning tools
Learning Tools
  • Income Shares Tutorial on the Department’s website – includes
    • All pertinent documents
    • A detailed walkthrough of a support calculation
    • Interactive examples
    • FAQs
  • www.state.tn.us/humanserv/is/incomeshares.htm
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