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TENNESSEE COMPILATION OF SELECTED LAWS ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, 2011 EDITION

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 36 Domestic Relations

Chapter 5 Alimony and Child Support

Part 5 Assignment of Income for Support

36-5-503. Termination of income assignment.

(a) The following procedures shall apply to termination of income assignment:

(1) Any party or its agents or assignees may seek termination of an order under this section if there are no arrearages owed by the obligor to the obligee parent, any guardian or custodian of the child, the department of human services or any other agency of the state of Tennessee, or any other Title IV-D agency of any state, the costs of court have been paid, and there are no longer any children to whom the obligor parent is obligated to pay support because:

(A) Of the marriage of the child or children;

(B) Of the death of the child or children;

(C) The child or children have reached majority and have graduated from high school, or the class of which the child is a member when the child attains eighteen (18) years of age graduates, whichever occurs later, and no other special circumstances requiring the obligation continue to exist.

(2) If there are children to whom the obligor is still obligated to pay support, though a change of circumstances has occurred as a result of the discontinuation of the obligation to at least one (1) child, the obligor may not seek termination of the income assignment order, but must seek modification of the support order. Upon obtaining modification of the support order, the clerk of court or the department or its contractors shall issue a modified income assignment;

(3) Parties seeking a change of custody, pursuant to § 36-6-101, may not seek termination under this provision but must request termination by the trial court if there is a change in custody ordered;

(4) The clerk of the court or the department of human services or its contractor in Title IV-D cases shall send the order and notice of termination of income assignment to the obligor parent, obligee parent, and employer, person, corporation, or institution upon the decision to terminate or not to terminate; and

(5) (A) In Title IV-D cases, when the department of human services or its contractor is informed or otherwise determines that the conditions of subdivision (a)(1) have been met, then the department or its contractor shall administratively terminate or modify the income assignment order to reflect the change in circumstances pursuant to the child support guidelines in accordance with this section. In all other circumstances, modification or termination of an income assignment shall be obtained by court order.

(B) In cases where an income assignment order may be terminated or modified by administrative order, the department or its contractor shall notify both the obligor, or other payer, and the obligee of the proposed action with respect to the termination or modification action. The notice shall give both the obligor and the obligee fifteen (15) days in which to appeal the proposed action, pursuant to the appeal provisions of part 10 of this chapter.

(b) Each parent or other individual having custody of a child who is receiving support payments under an income assignment order shall notify the clerk, or the department of human services or its contractor in Title IV-D cases, at such time as any of the following occur:

(1) A child for whom support is being paid dies;

(2) A child for whom support is being paid marries;

(3) A child for whom support is being paid reaches such child's eighteenth birthday if the child is not in high school on that date; or

(4) A child for whom support is being paid graduates from high school, or the class of which the child is a member graduates if the child does not graduate with the class, if the child is eighteen (18) years of age prior to the date such child graduates.

(c) (1) The obligor parent may also seek termination or modification of a support order when the whereabouts of the obligee parent and child or children are unknown and the clerk of the court, or the department of human services or its contractor in Title IV-D cases, has been unable to forward past payments, and all arrearages owed to the state as a result of the custodian's receipt of public assistance have been paid.

(2) The obligor parent may either file a motion for termination or seek modification of the child support order when support payments equal to the amount due within one (1) month have been returned to the office of the clerk, or to the department or its contractor in Title IV-D cases, and all reasonable means to locate the obligee parent and child or children have been exhausted. The clerk of the court, or the department or its contractor in Title IV-D cases, shall notify the obligor parent that such payments have been returned to the clerk, or to the department or its contractor in Title IV-D cases. The obligor parent must submit an affidavit verifying that such obligor parent has exhausted reasonable efforts to locate the obligee parent and child or children.

(d) When a motion to terminate is filed, the clerk of the court shall proceed to set a hearing and serve the parties as provided in § 36-5-405. Upon receipt of a notice from the custodial parent or individual in accordance with subsection (b), or based upon the department's own records, the clerk or the department or its contractor in Title IV-D cases shall determine whether the income assignment order includes support for any other child or children and whether there are any accumulated arrearages due that have not been satisfied. If there are no other children and no arrearages, the clerk, or the department or its contractor in Title IV-D cases, after notification to the parties, shall notify the employer, person, corporation or institution withholding support that the income assignment is terminated. If there are other children and/or accumulated arrearages, the clerk or the department or its contractor in Title IV-D cases, after notification to the parties, shall send a new notice to the employer, person, corporation or institution withholding support specifying the correct amount to be withheld as a result of the change in circumstances.

(e) If the obligor parent wishes to file a motion for termination or to seek modification of the support order, such obligor parent must complete and file an affidavit affirming that such obligor parent has contacted a reasonable number of relatives and friends of the obligee parent and all lack any knowledge regarding the whereabouts of the obligee parent and child or children, and that such obligor parent has made other reasonable efforts to locate the obligee parent and child or children including:

(1) Mailing a letter to the obligee parent's last known address requesting a new mailing address;

(2) Checking the telephone directory and directory assistance for a listing of the obligee parent;

(3) Contacting the obligee parent's last attorney of record and inquiring as to whether the attorney can provide a current address;

(4) Contacting the obligee parent's last known place of employment (if known) and inquiring as to whether a current address may be provided by the employer; and

(5) Contacting the department of human services and inquiring if its records contain a current address of the obligee parent.

Acts 1985, ch. 477, § 14; 1994, ch. 987, § 14; 2000, ch. 922, §§ 17-21; 2004, ch. 906, §§ 2, 3.

Compiler's Notes. Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, referred to in this section, is compiled in 42 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.

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