Tennessee Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

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Tennessee Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

Even if the non-custodial parent lives outside the state of Tennessee, the law requires cooperation between states. The non-custodial parent is legally required to make regular child support payments, regardless of where they live.

Tennessee Child Support Enforcement Measures

If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support, he or she is subject to enforcement measures in accordance with Federal and Tennessee child support law to collect regular and past-due payments.

  • Automatically withholding of wages and other income
  • Seizure of assets identified by the Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) program
  • Intercepts of federal tax refunds
  • Denial of passport applications using the IRS Treasury/Administrative Offset program
  • Revocation driver’s licenses, professional licenses, and various other licenses
  • Reporting of child support debt to the credit reporting agencies
  • Placement of liens against real or personal property

Who Can Enforce Court Ordered Child Support in Tennessee?

Tennessee Child Support Services is the state-run child support enforcement office for Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Human Services is required by federal law to provide services through Child Support Services (CSS) and is funded by the federal government and the state of Tennessee.

Full Time Equiv. Staff 1,059
Total Caseload 358,156

1 U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Boxscores for FY 2005

Interest on Missed Child Support Payments

Tennessee makes no provisions to access interest on late child support payments, retroactive support or adjudicated arrears.

Tennessee Statute of Limitations on Back Child Support Payments (Arrears)

There is no statute of limitations on enforcement of past due child support in Tennessee (TCA § 36-2-321).

Tennessee Statute of Limitations for Determination of Paternity

Determination of paternity in Tennessee must begin within 3 years after the child turns 18.

Age of Emancipation / Age of Majority in Tennessee

The age of emancipation in Tennessee is 18 unless the child is still in high school. Emancipation occurs when child graduates from high school or when the class the child is in when he/she reaches 18 or graduates. (T.C.A. § 34-11-102)

How Are Child Support Payment Amounts Determined in Tennessee?

The State of Tennessee uses an “Income Shares” model for determining child support obligation. Income Shares requires the courts to review the income of both parents before setting a child support amount.

Custody and Visitation Issues

Child support and visitation rights are separate issues. The court determines both and will usually order the non-custodial parent to pay support and the custodial parent to make the child available for visits.

The custodial parent must obey the court order for visitation, even if the non-custodial parent cannot or will not pay child support. The court can enforce any of its orders against either parent.