Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

How to Modify Child Support

Child support awards are ordered in most divorce cases with minor children, but circumstances may change after the divorce, warranting a modification of the child support payments. People tend to ask if it is possible to receive more child support or how to lower their payments for a host of reasons, but the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines require a “significant variance” between the original award and the potential new award.


There must be a 15% change in the payment to modify the child support order. This means that after the new circumstances are inputted into the worksheet, the potential payment must increase or decrease by at least 15%. Without a change to qualify as a significant variance, then the award cannot change.

What are circumstances that could lead to a significant variance to permit a change in payments?

  • Either parent has a significant increase or decrease in income – including a new job or losing a job.
  • Either parent is supporting another child not included on the current order.
  • Any of the minor children in the original order is no longer a minor or passes away.
  • Any of the minor children included in the current order becomes disabled.

If you believe that your financial situation has changed enough to warrant a change in your payments, it is a good idea to take documentation of the change to an attorney to determine if it meets the 15% variance. The attorney can file to modify the award in the court that ordered the child support. To schedule a consult with one of our attorneys, please give us a call.