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Are Tennessee’s child-support enforcement efforts adequate?

| Dec 19, 2014 | Child Support

Whenever one parent is left to raise a child alone and the other parent is capable of providing support to cover the costs of health care, education and day-to-day living, a court will generally order the noncustodial parent to make monthly payments. When child support is not paid on time, the custodial parent and child often experience financial problems. For this reason, every state, including Tennessee, has legal measures available to address enforcement problems.

Tennessee’s efforts at enforcement are currently being questioned by many custodial parents and children following a recent news report that a chronically delinquent man who fathered more than two dozen children in Tennessee and Arkansas has been given an ultimatum by an Arkansas judge. He must pay $6,000 in back child support for two children in that state or go to jail for one year. The judge’s decision came barely one month after a news channel reported on the case.

Women in Tennessee who bore some of the man’s children, and one of his daughters, have complained that the state’s enforcement of child support orders is not adequate. The agency contracted by the Department of Human Services for collecting child support says certain legal limits under state laws make it difficult to collect support from delinquent parents.

If Tennessee authorities are unable to enforce child support orders effectively, then the magnitude of the problem will only grow. The choice presented to the father by the Arkansas court shows that some officials are serious about enforcement. The issue is now far more likely to get the attention of state legislators because of an angry public.

For any parent engaged in a child support dispute, retaining a lawyer and seeking legal recourse is a wise course of action and could solve the problem before it harms the children.

Source:, “Daughter of deadbeat dad says Tennessee should do more,” Stephanie Scurlock, Dec. 3, 2014


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