How Long Will I Pay Child Support?

$100 bills rolled up and tied together on a scale of justice

Typically when a parent is told they need to pay child support, one may assume that once the child turns 18, that commitment will no longer need to be made. However, that is not always the case for parents.

Length of Child Support Payments

According to the Tennessee Department of Human Services, child support payments must be paid through a child’s 18th birthday or until they graduate from high school — whichever happens later. That means that if the child is 17 and going to college, the parent responsible for child support must still make payments until the child’s 18th birthday. This is also known as the age of majority.

Who Decides Which Parent Makes Child Support Payments?

Determining who makes child support payments is not always a clear-cut decision.

When setting monthly child support, a magistrate or judge will look at the following factors:

  • Gross monthly income of both parents;
  • The residential parenting time schedule;
  • The monthly cost of health insurance and which parent is providing it;
  • The monthly cost of any extraordinary education expenses, uncovered health care expenses, or expenses for extracurricular activities; and,
  • The monthly cost of work-related childcare.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support payments are meant to directly support the child or children. Generally, monthly child support covers certain expenses for the child or children when residing with the recipient of child support:

  • Housing;
  • Clothing;
  • Food;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Extracurricular activities; and,
  • Additional needs of the child.

Child support is not meant for the other parent to take and spend on themselves. If the parent who is making child support payments suspects that their child’s needs are not being met even though they are making these financial contributions, they should contact an experienced family attorney right away.

Parents May Not Waive Child Support

Except in very limited circumstances, parents may not waive monthly child support.

Have Questions About Child Support Payments?

Just because a child support payment arrangement was agreed upon by parents initially does not mean the monthly amount of child support is correct months or years later. Circumstances such as employment gain or loss and other factors can take place making the current child support payment arrangement not applicable.

If you are facing this scenario, contact the dedicated team at Puryear, Newman & Morton, PLLC right away. Our compassionate family law attorneys are ready to guide you through your circumstances and will present you with the best possible solution. Contact us today — (615) 933-2366

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