Tennessee family court recognizes that a child’s best interests and a parent’s situation may change over time.
For that reason, either parent can request a modification of a custody or support agreement as long as they can prove their request is necessary according to court standards.
Reasons a judge may grant modification of custody
If you request a modification of custody, you will need to present your reason to the court. Some common reasons a judge may grant a custody change include:
- The current situation presents a danger to the child.
- A parent refuses to adhere to the current agreement.
- One parent needs to relocate for a valid reason.
- The child’s needs changed as they aged.
- One parent’s income increased or decreased.
- One parent faces criminal charges.
The court typically accepts requests when there is a substantial involuntary change in circumstances.
“Significant variance” in Tennessee support modification cases
Variance refers to the change between the initial child support agreement and the modified agreement proposed to the court. According to Tennessee family court guidelines, there are a few ways to meet the standard for significant variance. For example, there must be a change in either parent’s income that adheres to state percentages. The change must also be at least 15% for the paying parent. Additionally, if one child from the support agreement turns 18, the paying parent can request to stop support for that child.
The parent filing for the change in custody or support must provide evidence to support their request. However, the process will go significantly faster if both parents reach a new agreement and have it in writing first.