Prior to 2005, Tennessee child support calculations were based on a percentage of the net income of the non-custodial parent, typically the father. Tennessee child support was centered on the “displaced female worker” principle where Mommy got the mine and Daddy got the shaft.
Now Tennessee has entered the 21st Century in child support directives, albeit a little bit late. With more moms in the workplace making money, sometimes even more than their estranged or ex-husbands, the Tennessee legislature took on the task of factoring societal changes into the calculation of child support.
Tennessee’s child support laws use the “income shares” theory that takes both the mother’s and father’s incomes into account, in addition to the amount of time that the child spends with each parent. This system is similar to the “DissoMaster” computer application used in California courts.
At first, it was a struggle to implement, but now, all Tennessee divorce lawyers and courts utilize it to calculate child support, tax savings, and more.
In Tennessee, each parent is responsible for paying his or her pro-rata share of support. The word “pro-rata” means a factor that can be “exactly calculated,” and in the case of Tennessee, the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
The parent with whom the child lives with more than 50% of the time is the “PRP,” and the parent with whom the child resides with less than 50% of the time is the “ARP.”
Now here is where it begins to get confusing:
Tennessee Child Support Parenting Example
“Standard parenting” represents the scenario where all the children in one family are subject to the same PRP and ARP arrangement at the same time. “Split parenting” represents the arrangement where one parent is the PRP/ARP for one or more children, and the other parent is the PRP/ARP for one or more children.
For example, child Amy lives with her mother 60% of the time and with her dad 40% of the time. Amy’s mom would be the PRP and her dad the ARP.
The arrangement for Amy’s brother, Jimmy, is a flip-flopped version of Amy’s parenting schedule, with Jimmy living 40% of the time with his mother and 60% of the time with his father. Hence, Amy and Jimmy’s parents are in a split-parenting scenario.
A typical “standard parenting” setup would have both children, for example, living 40% of the time with ARP Dad and 60% of the time with PRP Mom.
Tennessee Child Support Calculation
Calculations from child support and credit worksheets are merged and calculated within the Excel program. These are offset by the total income (included “imputed” income) of both parents. Imputed income is the amount of money an unemployed parent should be making based off calculations from a 2002 survey.
The computer goes through other figure gyrations to come up with the amount of child support that each parent is responsible for.