When two parents split up, the chances are good that one of those parents will be paying child support to the other one. How much child support you pay depends on a number of factors within the state’s guidelines, but how you pay can change, too.
There are numerous options for paying child support in Tennessee, allowing you to choose one that works best for your schedule and financial needs. The Tennessee Department of Human Services accepts the following child support payment methods:
Paying child support by mail
Paying child support the “old-fashioned way” or by “snail mail” is one option. Mail your payment to the following address:
State Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 305200
Nashville, TN 37229
To ensure your payment is processed, include your name as the non-custodial parent, social security number, and docket and court ID numbers. If the latter numbers are not available, include the Tennessee Child Support Enforcement System (TCSES) case number instead. You also need to include your Department of Human Services (DHS) payment coupon with your money order or check. If you do not have a coupon for any reason, simply include the above information. Without the correct information, your payment cannot be processed. It is possible to review payments through the state’s Child Support Payment System.
Using TouchPay for child support
Another acceptable child support payment option is TouchPay. Make the payment through the TouchPay app or online, whichever is easier for you. Making payments through TouchPay kiosks are also possible, though these kiosks are not available in Knoxville. If you travel to Nashville, Memphis, or Chattanooga for any reason and need to make your payment, there are kiosks at the following locations:
- Shelby County: 3915 South Mendenhall Rd. Memphis, TN 38115
- Hamilton County: Eastgate Town Center 5600 Brainerd Road, Suite D-26 Chattanooga, TN 37411
- Davidson County 44 Vantage Way, Suite 300 Nashville, TN 37228
A 2.95% processing fee is applied to all debit and credit card payments. If you pay with cash and the amount is less than $100, a $3 fee applies. Payments over $100 include a $2 processing fee.
Tennessee Child Support Internet Payment website
If you prefer making your payments online, you can use the Tennessee Child Support Internet Payment website. However, you must pay a 2.5% credit card processing fee if you make a payment through this website. Paying by phone is also possible; simply call 844.324.3856.
Using Moneygram for child support
Yet another child support payment option is Moneygram, which features 34,000 locations all over the United States. To make your payment at a Moneygram cash counter, furnish your case number, bring your payment plus a $3.99 processing fee, and provide the receive code (14680).
What happens if you do not make child support payments in Knoxville?
Failing to pay child support in Knoxville or anywhere else in Tennessee incurs severe penalties. Unpaid child support is known as “arrearages” and can result in paying interest. Typical interest payments include the interest on unpaid support and the related court costs, in addition to paying what you owe. The interest can end up making your payments hundreds of dollars more expensive.
Missing child support payments can also result in wage garnishment and losing assorted licenses. In terms of wage garnishment, up to 50% of your earnings could be taken for child support purposes. License losses can include your driver’s license, business license, hunting and fishing licenses, and occupational or professional licenses. If payment arrangements are not made within 20 days of the original due date, the applicable licenses are revoked.
Other consequences for not paying child support include being held in contempt of court and being sent to jail. If held in contempt, you will pay a fine and possibly be sentenced to jail time. If you are sent to jail, it is meant to punish you for lacking payments.
Can I modify my child support payments?
Life changes can occur that make paying the agreed-upon child support amounts challenging, such as reduced job hours or an employment termination. Rather than failing to pay what you owe, work with an attorney. The lawyer represents you before a judge who will either modify or terminate the child support order in light of your circumstances. Seeking legal counsel and changing the order is always better than missing payments and dealing with the above consequences. It also sidesteps contention with your former partner or at least mitigates it.
Having to change child support payments is hardly the most pleasant process, but it can be highly necessary to avoid serious financial strife. Until it is possible to make the original payments again, take legal action and save yourself from fines and related hassles. Commonly accepted life changes that can be used to alter child support payments include the following:
- Loss of employment
- Serious illness
- Inability to work due to an injury
- Demotion at work
On the other side, the recipient of the payments can request they be increased for any of the following reasons:
- The payor received a raise at work or promotion
- The payor won the lottery
- The payor inherited a large sum of money
- The child is ill or suffered an injury and requires detailed care
If you need to discuss your child support issue with an experienced child support attorney, contact f LaFevor & Slaughter. Based in Knoxville, we focus on divorce and family law, including child custody, child support, alimony, and military divorces, to assist residents throughout the region as they navigate such challenging times. Count on us to hear your case and determine the best course of action that hopefully satisfies all involved parties. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a consultation today.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.
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