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What happens if back child support is owed in Tennessee? | Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC
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27 comments


  • Hello,

    I have question, I was involved with a woman, 6 yrs ago. She supposedly had gotten pregnant by me. But she claims she had a miscarriage. She lives in Tenn, I live in Illinois. I got a lawyer, to show me the miscarriage medical report from her doctor, it shows she did miscarry, and she even wrote a letter saying that she wasn’t pregnant by me. I still have all documents. However, 9 months later she informs me she did have a child, and wants me to take a DNA. I was shocked, but I agreed to take one. Suddenly, she disappears for 5 years, after trying to locate her for 5 yrs. I finally, catch her on a social network (facebook) she says I have to pay the state of Tennessee, back child support. Is this true??

    February 18, 2014
    • You really should speak with an experienced family law attorney from the county in which the purported mother lives. If there is a pending child support action or a court order you don’t know about, you need to know that asap.

      April 06, 2014
  • Hello
    My ex was ordered by court to pay child support on our son upon our divorce he did for 6 yrs. He got a 2 divorce and had to pay for that child. He’s had the same job 22 years paid $25/hr..He promptly stopped paying me when my son was 5/6 & tried to get custody in OCT. Of that yr..Oh-when we first divorced I was granted full custody &rights to claim him on taxes. He did NOT win custody & was again ordered to pay child support this time through the state, I haven’t received a penny/9yrs. I have absolutely NEVER denied visitation vacays etc. As that would punish joe. He is paying $840 on the second child..his first 0. He also claimed joe the year he fought for custody w/o telling me or any legal right (he didn’t even TRY to take Joe until the 10th month of the year he claimed for so even if he HAD won, he didn’t file until the 10th month!! I had no clue he claimed him, So I also claimed-but he did first so even though I’ve got documentation from the court-I now OWE THE IRS $10000 (that’s ten thousand)Ive paid $100 a MONth since, so it’s more now (interest). Excuse my manners but what the Hell has happened here? It’s so absurd, I feel foolish saying it.but this ALL TRUE-actually there’s not even room for all we’ve endured
    But my sweet son is a straight A student, I have ZERO $ for college, he doesn’t even know as I can’t imagine how that would make him feel. He knows his brothers mom gets support he sees her pick up her chk..I’m sure he assumes he gets too…I don’t.

    July 27, 2014
    • My advice is simple. Round up all of your legal pleadings and see an experienced Tennessee family law attorney. The attorney will need to review the legal pleadings in order to give you legal advice. Even if the children/child is past 18, you may still be due child support. Don’t delay. Learn your rights. The attorney may be willing to take the case based on a contingency fee. Also, ask about interest on unpaid child support.

      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. MemphisDivorce.com. We aim to be your best option for finding a Memphis divorce lawyer, Germantown divorce lawyer, or Collierville divorce lawyer.
      The response above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any individual. Answers are provided for informational purposes only. A person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

      July 28, 2014
  • Hello,

    i was serving in the navy in peral harbor hawaii when i met my childs mother, upon the pregnancy the (who was pregnant) left the state of hawaii and had our daughter in NC. i have never denied my child anything, i have paid for flights, for her and my daughter to come to hawaii and to my home of record in TN. WE decided on informal child support payments basically a under the table understanding for the 4 1/2 years of my childs life her mother was receiving $600-800 dollars in child support not to mention free health care for my daughter. after getting out of the military i struggled to get on my feet for 3 moths and then resumed paying the child support in the amount of $360 as is the price i reciver based on my salary from the child support calculator on the TN state website. I am afraid of getting hit with backpaid child support when i legally file for child support through the state. i have no reciepts of any kind, just the word of me and my daughters mother. is there any sort of appeals process if i do get hit with a rearage or is there something that i can do to make sure that i wont upon filing for legal child support payments. please help thank you.
    V/R Mr. Franklin

    August 31, 2014
    • You are not alone. Unfortunately, this situation arises much more often than you may think. The home state for the child likely determine what state child support law applies, not yours. In any event, you really need to consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine what state law likely applies and what to do next. The amount of money at stake is potentially very high. Tennessee law is very favorable to the mother, allowing child support retroactively to the date of birth. You need to get this legal problem sorted out now. It will not get better by ignoring it. In Tennessee, even parents who have supported children their entire lives can still be ordered to pay child support back to age 18.

      Miles Mason, Sr.

      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. MemphisDivorce.com. We strive to be your best option for finding a Memphis divorce lawyer, Germantown divorce lawyer, Collierville divorce lawyer or West Tennessee divorce lawyer. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      August 31, 2014
  • karen

    My husband and I divorced 12 years ago. He hardly paid any child support after we divorced and it required me to take him to court each time. I couldn’t afford to take off work each time so I gave up pursuing it and just dealt with supporting my child on my own. He has never held a job in which he was registered for garnishments or taxes so it was very difficult when I did pursue it. My child will be 17 next month and we’re looking at college. I could really use back child support to help with the expenses. What are my options? I don’t know exactly where he lives but could easily find out since we both live in the same small town and my friends parents say he lives in their neighborhood.

    December 06, 2014
    • I recommend you consult with an attorney for your options and read Child support enforcement and collection in Tennessee divorce and family law including answers to frequently asked questions.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only. We strive to be your best option for finding a Memphis divorce lawyer, Germantown divorce lawyer, Collierville divorce lawyer or West Tennessee divorce lawyer.

      December 07, 2014
    • Tameshia Hickey Curry

      I have been divorced for 4 years and been fighting for child suport every since the divorce. We went to court on March 27,2015 he was order to pay a lump sum within 3o days and I havent recivied anything as of yet. Our case is court order, not DCS. I am going to do everything within my power to get my kids money. These men and women that walk out of their kids lifes need to pay. The children didnt ask to be here and as parents its both of our responsability to take care of our kids.. I am willing to get the news involved and take this to Washington. I am currently doing research on child support laws. I am asking for help in this area. The children are suffering and the parents are gone on taking care of another man family while his kids are lacking. just needed to vent.

      April 27, 2015
  • Sandie Kosareff

    can the state garnish the fathers live-in girlfriends wages for back child support.

    July 27, 2015
    • No. Only parents have a legal duty to support a child.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      July 27, 2015
  • My girlfriend needs her licence back. She is working and paying on her child support. Does it have to be caught up all the way for to be able to get her licence back? Or is the thing to to do , is to get a lawyer. To get the ball rolling? This site has been a great help! Thx.!,
    Matt

    July 29, 2015
    • A motion to vacate the license revocation order must be filed. Every judge approaches these situations differently. Many judges see license revocation as an “attention getter,” so to speak. In order to end the license revocation, I suspect many judges will require some real effort on keeping up with current support obligations and some meaningful effort to pay on arrears. Yes, I recommend you visit with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney and discuss the details of your particular situation.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      July 30, 2015
  • melissa dunn

    What will a judge do to me with the time frame it took to pay off my child support. my son is a grown man and I got the money now to pay all of it off

    August 09, 2015
    • In most situations, if a parent is making child support payments regularly, it is unlikely, but not impossible, that a judge might order the parent to jail. Also, check out Back Child Support Now Waivable Due to Change in Tennessee Child Support Law. I recommend you visit with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney and discuss the details of your particular situation.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      August 10, 2015
  • Brandon

    I am currently behind in child support and received a letter stating that my back child support would be taken from my income tax return. Which is fine, helps me out and should reduce my payment some since I’m paying on the arrears every month. Will that entire lump sum go to my daughters mother? I worry, because I would hate to see a lump sum of money all go down the drain without my daughter receiving anything and I know that’s what will happen.

    November 17, 2015
    • Family lawyers hear this quite often. I recommend you visit with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney and discuss the details of your particular situation. If a parent doesn’t adequately support a child, in a way, Tennessee law assumes you will take the other parent to court to seek custody.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      November 29, 2015
  • Kimberly

    About three years ago I was having some serious issues. So, my father and I went into a lawyer’s office and agreed upon a tempory child custody arrangement where my father would have custody of my two children. We went into this agreement with the mutual understanding that once I got my issues under control and dealt with, that I would be able to get my custodial rights of my children back. Now I am behind in child support payments but my life is back in order and I have been ready to get my children for over a year now. My father now is fighting against me getting my children returned to me and there are things going on that puts my children in a position that is very less than ideal while with him. My question is, can I get custody of my children returned to me while I owe back support for them? Is there a way to be able to arrange a payment plan and still have my children returned to my care? One of the problems that my father is focusing on is the fact that I now live away from where he is and he is attempting to hold my children as collateral so that I would be forced to live either with him or close to him. I have since moved on and all I want is my children to be back with me. Please advise me on what my options are and if at all possible what I should or could do to rectify this issue. Thank you.

    November 30, 2015
    • I recommend you visit with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney and discuss the details of your particular situation. Your situation is very complicated. Do not delay. In many circumstances, judges will help out by setting a payment plan on child support. You may also consider making some child support payments – paying as much as you can and as soon as you can. For your children to be returned to you over the objection of the temporary custodial parent you may need a court order after a hearing. That hearing could be seriously contested.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      November 30, 2015
  • K

    My child is 14 and has never met her father. He doesn’t want her. I have never filed for child support because I feared forcing him into her life would hurt her more than the money would help her. If I file now, would he have to pay back support for her entire life or just from the time I file?

    January 05, 2016
    • It’s possible and maybe even likely. Obviously, it will depend on the facts and circumstances. You should visit with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney and discuss the details of your particular situation.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      January 07, 2016
  • J

    How does the license suspension work? I’ve seen if it’s more then $500 in arrears it says you can get a payment plan. My husband is more then $500 in arrears and trying to get license back, they gave the amount of a lump sum to pay to get it back, but they said twice a year they run the license and suspend them if behind. He is already on a payment plan for arrears, if he pays on time will they still suspend if the arrears are more then $500?

    January 11, 2016
    • If the parent who owes back child support pays the arrearage owed pursuant to an amended court order setting out the monthly payments due, the State will likely not seek to suspend the parent’s license. The reason is likely the simple one: reward and punishment.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      January 19, 2016
  • Jim

    I feel as if I need to provide a bit of an explanation before I ask the reason for my question.

    My (now) ex-wife left and took our three children to Tennessee while I was deployed in Iraq, about five years ago. I live in Florida and that is where she, the kids, and myself had residency. There was no abuse at home. She needed the comfort of another and eventually decided to move home, where her family lives, in Tennessee.

    During the deployment, she had complete access to my paycheck, using about 95% for her and the kids. Once I returned to Florida, I paid what we felt was the appropriate amount of child support plus our existing bills (her car, insurance, etc.)

    Eventually she met someone and things got more estranged. She moved and did not provide the address. She stopped letting me speak to the kids and kept them from me. So, I stopped paying her child support.

    Fast forward to today… I pay $2,200 a month, which includes about $300 in back child support. My net paycheck is $500.00. Did I mention that I love in Florida where the cost of living is probably double compared to the rural town she resides in Tennessee? I’m financially drowning and can hardly afford to pick up and keep my kids during the summer and holidays. I stupidly did not hire a lawyer during the divorce.

    Finally, my questions. I receive a bonus annually, in March. Each year the state of Tennessee garnishes half of that bonus. I recall receiving a letter from Maximus stating I can dispute the garnishment under a certain criteria. I can’t find the legal code anywhere online. I need help and I need that bonus. I’m drowning in debt. My second question is if I have any legal standing to dispute the amount I pay? Since the divorce, I make a little more money, but the different in the amount she receives vs. myself is unreal. I am completely shocked that the equal family incomes is based on gross and not net income.

    Thank you.

    February 08, 2016
    • I hope this is a helpful answer. You really, really need to speak with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney and discuss the details of your particular situation. To answer your questions and give you meaningful legal advice, the lawyer needs to read all of your court pleadings (especially the orders), review your payment history vs. what is recorded, see your source documents of your payments, maybe run various child support scenarios to see what may be required for a modification and ask you questions. Jurisdiction could be an issue. Modification of the amount you owe on an ongoing basis and/or payments on arrearages could be an issue. Can the arrearage amount you owe be modified based on your circumstances? It depends. The wage assignment on your bonus is a different issue. You could seek a review through administrative rules which are very confusing – even for lawyers or ask the Court to rule that the bonus is considered in the monthly arrearage amount and not to garnish it. Yes, you may have options. Some of your options may depend on your specific judge’s procedures. I wish I could answer your questions in more detail. I hope this helps some. Regarding you being shocked about “the equal family incomes is based on gross and not net income,” I am not sure exactly what you are getting at there. My thoughts in response are that the guidelines setting the calculation for determining child support claims to try and ask both parents to support the children – but not necessarily in equal amounts! It is a sliding scale that administrative body determined. The difference between gross and net income is a factor, but not enough to really make a difference.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      February 09, 2016
  • Ted

    My ex wife and I are getting a divorce, we have 2 boys. My question is do I have to pay her anything before there is any papers filed and can she make me pay back child support while the divorce is in process and nothing has been ordered?

    April 19, 2016
    • The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines allow for child support to be owed retroactive to the date of separation. I recommend you visit with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney and discuss the details of your particular situation.
      Miles Mason, Sr.
      Attorney, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. Serving clients in Memphis • Germantown • Collierville • West Tennessee. Our response is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only way to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, let the attorney review pleadings and orders, listen to you, ask follow up questions, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an opinion. The basic information provided is intended as a public service only. A complete discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. All information on this site is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. Answers are provided for informational purposes only.

      April 22, 2016

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