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What is good cause in the context of child support?

| Aug 21, 2015 | Child Support

Paying child support on time is not only important for the child’s well-being but according to Tennessee and federal laws, child support delinquency is a serious offense as well. However, many people face issues related to child support because they are not fully aware of the process. In an earlier post, it was stated that a family that receives Families First support can also receive child support through the Department of Human Services.

Is there a justifiable reason not to cooperate when it comes to paying child support? If a person thinks that the DHS’s effort to establish child support or deal with paternity issues may cause more harm than good, then there may be good cause for the person not to help the DHS with its activities. In order to claim good cause, the parent is required to prove to the Families First manager that establishing paternity or locating the non-custodial parent can cause more harm than good.

There are other reasons for claiming good cause and DHS can help a parent with that as well. The parent will have to provide all kinds of information and the proof that the DHS will need. However, if a parent fails to help DHS without having good cause, the family may lose Families First and Medicaid benefits.

Also, when a person closes the Families First case, that person automatically qualifies for child support. That will be a non-assistance case. The child support case will continue unless the parent requests that it end. That case will get equal treatment with other Families First cases.

If a parent owes child support during the time that the parent receives Families First, the DHS will enforce and collect the extra payments, even if the parent has asked for the child support to stop.

Source:, “Tennessee Child Support Handbook,” June 2013


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