Whether you make or receive payments, there are many reasons you may need to revisit your child support order over the years. What worked in the beginning may no longer be reasonable if your children’s care expenses increase or if you experience a pay cut or job loss.
In Tennessee, either ex-spouse can ask for a support review and possible modification if a major life change makes the current order unworkable.
When might the court approve a change?
The court may modify your current agreement if either you or your ex-spouse have experienced a significant change in your ability to pay or your ability to cover your child’s care expenses. Examples of situations that might apply include:
- Your/your spouse’s income has substantially increased or decreased
- You/your spouse are legally responsible for an additional child not considered in the current order
- You/your spouse or your child has become disabled
- Healthcare coverage or costs for children has changed
- Your child custody and/or visitation plan has changed
- A child is no longer a minor or has emancipated
How do you apply for support review?
You can request a review by contacting either your local Child Support Office or by filing the required paperwork with the court where your order originated. In either case, Tennessee’s Child Support Guidelines will determine whether the court approves a change. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that a review will result in modification, and amounts may go up, go down or stay the same.
If you are having trouble making your current child support order work, it is important to request a review as soon as possible. If the court does modify your order, those adjustments can only go back to the date you filed the petition, not the date that your circumstances changed.