More Tennesseans seek child support reductions - WKRN News 2

More Tennesseans seek child support reductions

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More and more Tennesseans are struggling to pay child support during the tough economy.

An increasing number of parents are heading to court to try to lower their support payments as their paychecks shrink.

Scott Rosenberg hears many requests for child support modification as a referee at Nashville's Juvenile Justice Center.

"We had one just today, a father had two jobs, and now he only has one job, and he's not even getting a full forty hours on that job," Rosenberg told News 2, "so I anticipate we'll be seeing a lot more of this."

As parents earn less, it becomes more difficult to meet their child support obligations.

"All we ask is for people to pay their fair share of support, whatever that might be under the economic circumstances," according to Rosenberg. "In these times it's hard on everybody. Everybody [has had] to tighten their belts, mothers, fathers, everybody... It's impacting everybody."

If you intend to seek lower child support payments, filing a court request for payment modification is crucial.

Nashville lawyer Lisa Ewing said she's taking more and more calls from parents who work on commission or just aren't making what they used to.

"The judges are seeing that people's [earning] potential in 2009 is very different than it was in 2008," Ewing told News 2.  "People with degrees in mechanical engineering who are now getting $275 a week in unemployment benefits were making $60,000 or more in the past."

Despite the slow economy, the state is still collecting plenty of child support money.

The Department of Human Services collected more than $530 million during the last fiscal year.

They have yet to see a drop-off in payments during the current federal fiscal year, but say the economy is no excuse to skip out on payments.

"There's not a whole lot we can do other than continue to be aggressive in collecting with those that have the ability to pay," said Michael Adams, the assistant commissioner of Tennessee's Department of Services.

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