Tennessee has passed a new child support law, Public Chapter No. 200, which went into effect as of July 1st, 2015. Public Chapter No. 200 amends Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 36-5-101 (f). Under this new law, child support arrearages may be waived or reduced. Child support is in arrears when it is overdue and begins to collect interest of 12% per year. Under the new law, this debt may be forgiven with permission from the court and the agreement of both parties by signing a settlement agreement.
Certain requirements must also be met for the parties to enter a settlement agreement to reduce or eliminate the arrears. The first requirement is that child support payments be paid on time and in full for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the settlement. The second requirement is that it be in a signed document as verbal agreements will not suffice. Third, the settlement must be found by the Court to be in the child’s best interests in light of the payor’s ability to pay.
Note that arrears may only be forgiven once, and any arrears that are incurred after a settlement may not be settled or forgiven. Also, this amendment only applies to child support arrears owed to the primary residential parent and excludes any arrears owed to the State, which cannot be waived or negotiated away.