Over the past few months, there has been a lot of media coverage regarding increases in health insurance premiums and options for coverage. For some Middle Tennesseans, the prices being quoted are impossible to work into budgets that are already stretched to the limits with other obligations, like child support. Whether you are a parent paying or receiving child support, a substantial change in your health insurance premiums could give rise to a change in your child support calculation if you provide health insurance for the children supported by that Order.
Tennessee uses the Income Shares Model to determine the amount that parents should pay in child support. One part of that calculation includes giving credit to a parent that is providing health insurance coverage for the children in the calculation. If you are the parent receiving child support and you provide health insurance, the basic child support obligation goes up to make sure the other parent is bearing their portion of the responsibility for the health insurance premium. If you are the parent paying child support and you provide health insurance, the basic child support obligation goes down to give you credit for providing the insurance.
When the Court considers whether or not to change your child support order, it looks for a ‘significant variance.’ A general guideline is whether or not there is enough of an impact to change the total child support by fifteen percent (15%) or more, but ultimately the Court has discretion in approving or denying a change to the child support amount. There are several other factors to take into account, like changes in income, childcare costs, and new children in either household, just to name a few.
If you believe that your child support may need to be adjusted, it is important to take action. The Court will generally only change the child support starting the date that the paperwork is filed with their office, so waiting only costs you money. It is also important to note that you can’t change your child support order without approval from the Court. We have several attorneys in our office who can evaluate your child support order, and determine whether or not you could qualify for a modification. Call our office today for a free consultation, and we can help you get started before the changes affect your budget.