Default Judgment Modifying Parenting Schedule and Child Support Reversed In Sparta, TN: Lawson v. Stewart

Facts: When Mother and Father divorced in 2009, Mother was designated the primary residential parent for their child, and Father was awarded 109 days of parenting time. Father’s child-support obligation was determined to be $220 a month. In 2016, Mother petitioned to modify the parenting plan to reduce Father’s parenting time and increase his child-support […]

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Private School Tuition Disputed in Chattanooga, Tennessee Child-Support Case: Pua-Vines v. Vines

Facts: Mother and Father are the divorced parents of two daughters. Their parenting plan provides for joint decision-making authority and says: The parties shall each pay one-half (50%) of all private school tuition, school supplies, fees, extracurricular expenses, school trips, sports activities, graduation expenses, and any and all other school or extracurricular expenses incurred on […]

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A New Strategy for Collecting Child Support: Debt Forgiveness

This article by J.B. Wogan in Governing is interesting. A New Strategy for Collecting Child Support: Debt Forgiveness Officials in Westchester County, N.Y., want to help low-income fathers who are behind in their child support payments. “These guys aren’t deadbeats,” says Kevin McGuire, the county’s social services commissioner. “They’re dead broke.” In a 2006 study […]

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No Deviation for Extraordinary Travel Expenses Affirmed in Chattanooga, Tennessee Child-Support Dispute: In re Conner F.

Facts: Mother and Father are the never-married parents of Child. Mother lives in Tennessee. Father lives in Colorado. In a child-custody dispute, the Tennessee trial court designated Mother as the primary residential parent and provided that Father could exercise parenting time with Child in Tennessee. The trial court also established Father’s child-support obligation. Notably, the […]

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Refusal to Award Child Support Retroactive to Birth Affirmed in Gallatin, TN Paternity Matter: Carr v. Sutton

Facts: Mother gave birth to Child in 1996. No father was listed on the birth certificate. When Child was 17 years old, the State petitioned to establish paternity and require the father to provide health insurance for Child. DNA testing confirmed Father’s paternity a few months before Child’s 18th birthday. An order was entered, but […]

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Tennessee Family Law Legislative Update 2017

Hello, friends! It’s that time of year again—time to review how our legislators made Tennessee family law worse than it was this time last year. First, let’s all take a minute to chug a jar of East Tennessee moonshine to prepare ourselves for what’s to come. OK, now that we’re sufficiently numb, let’s get started. Hit us with your best shot, […]

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Child-Support Issues Raised in Williamson Co., TN: Sansom v. Sansom

Facts: Mother and Father are the divorced parents of Child. This appeal involved several postdivorce disputes, only two of which are noteworthy: the dispute over what constitutes a “day” for child-support purposes, and the trial court’s calculation of Father’s gross income for child-support purposes. Regarding the calculation of parenting time, Father argued the agreed parenting […]

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Tennessee Legislature Changes Interest on Child-Support Arrearages

Those of you who read my yearly legislative-update posts know that I don’t think much of our legislature when it comes to new family-law legislation. So my thoughts on their latest foray into Tennessee family law will come as no surprise. First, some background. Tennessee law, codified at Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-5-101(f)(1), has long […]

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Which Version of Tennessee’s Child Support Guidelines Are Used to Determine Retroactive Child Support?: Maher v. Woodruff

Facts: Mother and Father divorced in 1998. At the time of the divorce, they shared custody of their two children. Father was ordered to pay $1500 per month in child support. Less than a year later, after Mother’s chronic mental illness prevented her for caring for the children, the court transferred custody of the children […]

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Third-Party Caregiver’s Impact on Child Support Examined in Memphis, TN: State ex rel. Williams v. Woods

Facts: This case involves the never-married parents of Child. The trial court had to determine Father’s retroactive child support obligation/arrearage after Child had graduated from high school and became an adult. The time period at issue was Child’s four years in high school. Mother has multiple sclerosis. Although she continued to work as a dispatcher, […]

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Voluntary Agreement to Pay Private School Tuition Is Modifiable in Chattanooga, TN Child Support Dispute: Ghorashi-Bjaestani v. Bajestani

Facts: When Husband and Wife divorced in 2009, the court entered their agreed parenting plan which provided that Husband agreed to pay the children’s private school expenses through 12th grade. In 2015, Husband petitioned to modify the parenting plan because, he argued, there had been a material change in circumstances regarding his obligation to pay […]

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No Wage Assignment for Child Support and Changing Child’s Last Name Reversed in Clinton, TN Parenting Dispute: Howell v. Smithwick

Facts: Mother and Father are the unmarried parents of Child. Within a week of Child’s birth, Father filed a petition to establish paternity and a parenting schedule. An agreed temporary parenting plan was entered. Later, disputes regarding parenting and contempt landed the parents back in court. The only issues I find noteworthy are the trial […]

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Former Stay-At-Home Parent Not Voluntarily Underemployed in Nashville, TN Divorce: Cain-Swope v. Swope

Facts: After 22 years of marriage, Husband and Wife divorced. Although many issues were raised on appeal, the most noteworthy one, in my opinion, was the question of whether Husband is voluntarily underemployed for child support purposes. Husband has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. His prior employment paid anywhere from $10-$13 per hour. When […]

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