Home

In Tennessee, can a Parent Recover in a Wrongful Death Suit when they Owe Child Support?

Posted on Nov 25 2013 9:40AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  Tennessee has a statute that address whether a parent can recover in a wrongful death cause of action when they have not paid child support.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 20-5-107 provides that a parent cannot recover through a wrongful death action until all child support obligations, along with interest, have been paid.  T.C.A. § 20-5-107(b) provides as follows:

 

(b) In no event shall a parent be permitted to recover through an action commenced pursuant to subsection (a) until all child support arrearages, together with interest on the child support arrearages, at the legal rate of interest computed from the date each payment was due, have been paid in full to the parent ordered to receive the support or to the parent's estate if deceased.

 

Additionally, a parent who has intentionally refused and neglected to pay child support for a two year period (or for the life of the child if it is less) can be prevented from recovering under the Tennessee wrongful death statute under certain circumstances.  If this person was subject to a court order requiring payment of child support and failed to do so and if they intentionally refused or neglected to contact the child or exercise visitation rights, then they are not permitted to recover for a wrongful death action in Tennessee on behalf of their child.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 20-5-107(c) provides as follows:

 

(c) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a parent who has intentionally refused or neglected to pay any support for a child for a two-year period, or for the life of the child, whichever is less, when subject to a court order requiring the payment of child support and who has intentionally refused or neglected to contact the child or exercise visitation during such period, shall not be permitted to recover through an action commenced pursuant to subsection (a) and § 20-5-106.

 

As a result, this statute needs to be carefully reviewed if there is a wrongful death action where one of the parent’s failed to comply with child support obligations.  In certain circumstances this parent can be prevented from recovering for any wrongful death award for their child.  In all circumstances, however, the parent is required to repay all arrearages with interest before recovering for the wrongful death of their child under Tennessee law.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Defense Litigation blog.

TAGS: Defenses, Torts, Wrongful Death
Comments
There are currently no comments associated with this article.
Post a Comment / Question
Name:
Email Address:
Verify:
Comments:
Email a Friend
Email this entry to:
Your email address:
Message:
 
Author

Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

Search
Enter keywords:
Subscribe   RSS Feed
Add this blog to your feeds or subscribe by email using the form below
Copyright © 2018, Jason A. Lee. All Rights Reserved
Tennessee Defense Litigation Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com

PRIVACY POLICY | DISCLAIMER