How Child Support Is Determined
If you have minor children, you and your soon-to-be ex will need to make some important decisions about visitation, custody and child support. While you should attempt to work out as many issues concerning divorce and your children in advance as possible, there are special rules about child support that you should be aware of before doing so. Read on for guidelines on determining child support.
In an effort to establish more predictable and consistent guidelines for child support, the federal government has established calculations to assist judges and involved parties in determining child support amounts. Since child support is largely based on income, each state has different guidelines. Here is a map with child support calculators for the United States.
Note that these calculations are only rough estimates, and many other factors can off-set these results such as percentages of custody, types of income and extraordinary expenses for care. Factors that may be considered when calculating child support include the following.
Income: Some states use gross income, some use net when calculating the amount. Both parent's income is considered, with the higher earner usually being required to pay a greater percentage of support.
Previous court ordered support payments: If a parent is already paying alimony or child support, the amount of the court ordered payment can be deducted from the income for calculating purposes. Voluntary payments are not deductible. Payments must be up-to-date for this deduction to be valid.
Childcare expenses: Childcare may be deducted from the income of the parent who pays the expense.
Healthcare: These obligations are part of the support order which will specify which parent is responsible for providing coverage and paying the premium. The amount of the premium may be deducted from the income, so it becomes part of the total support payment for one parent.
Other expenses: There may be expenses involving providing for the educational needs of a child who requires extraordinary care, such as special needs children. Travel expenses are often accounted for in the calculation, as well as adjustments for parents who have shared physical custody arrangements.
Child support determinations are a unique aspect of your divorce since it is one of the few issues that can never completely be complete until the child is no longer a minor or completes college. Courts acknowledge that providing for the minor children of a divorce is an on-going and ever-changing responsibility. A divorce attorney, such as those found at Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC, will be well-versed in the particular child support calculations in your state, so contact him for more information.