50/50, Equal, and Shared Parenting Time in Tennessee Child Support Laws

50/50 Equal & Shared Parenting Time in Tennessee Child Support Laws

50/50 Equal & Shared Parenting Time in Tennessee Child Support Laws

Which parent owes child support with 50/50 time, equal time, and/or shared parenting time under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines?  Tennessee child support calculator with joint custody explained.

50 50 Custody Child Support in Tennessee

The mandatory designations of the Mother as the Primary Residential Parent means that child support will be calculated against the Father as if it were a typical, or, less than 50/50 shared custodial schedule.  Any adjustment to the child support obligation as a direct result of engaging in 50/50 parenting occurs as an adjustment to the Father’s strict child support obligation to the Mother, as indicated in Child Support Guidelines Rule 1240-2-4-.08(2)(c)(4)(iii).

Every child support case in Tennessee begins with a strict computation of the primary residential parent’s “basic child support obligation.”  This strictly calculated basic child support obligation is “presumed” to be correct, as per the Child Support Guidelines at Rule 1240-2-4-.02(5) and (20), along with Rule 1240-2-4-.04(6)(a).  Then, and only then, can the court consider any “adjustments” to be made for parenting time and/or additional expenses.  An “adjusted support obligation” is one that is changed to reflect parenting time, health care insurance, work-related childcare expenses, and recurring uninsured medical expenses, as defined in Rule 1240-2-4-.02(2) and (18), as well as Rule 1240-2-4-.03(6)(d)(2) and 1240-2-4.04(7).

The rationale for this formulaic approach can be found deep into Rule 1240-2-4-.04(7) where it states, in cases of equal parenting time, the parent with the higher income is expected to contribute to the expenses at the other household, even if the parent with the higher income is the primary residential parent.  In Tennessee, a request for more time with the children is not a means to a reduction in one’s basic child support obligation, until and unless the income of the other parent approaches or approximates the income and household setting of the parent requesting the adjustment.

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