CHILD SUPPORT FAQ

Child support is the monetary obligation that the non-custodial parent must provide to the custodial parent, based upon the assumption the custodial bears more expense in raising the child since the child is with him or her for the majority of the time.

How is Child Support Calculated?

Child support is usually assessed according to the formula provided in the stated guidelines. The person who must pay child support is called the “obligor”. The formula is only used for an obligor who earns $8,550 or less a month. The formula requires first a determination of what the obligor’s net resources are. Net resources are the result of the obligor’s monthly gross income minus the taxes that the obligor pays on that income and any health insurance of the premium payment. Then, the court determines how many children in total the obligor must provide support for and how many children are before the court for the current child support determination. For a lot of the obligors, the number of children is the same. However, as the years go by, obligors may have additional children increasing the total number of children the obligor must support, thereby affecting the final child support amount. Depending upon the ratio of children, a percentage is then applied to the net resources. A simplified example is as follows: The obligor earns $2,000 a month in gross income; he pays $350.00 in taxes and $150.00 for the child’s portion of medical insurance. He has one child before the court and that is his only child. The designated percentage of 20% is applied to his $1,500.00 in net resources, resulting in a monthly child support payment of $300.00. This is what would be called the guideline child support amount.

What if I believe that the guideline child support amount is too little or too much?

The court will entertain arguments for a deviation from the child support guidelines, but such arguments must be persuasive enough to overcome the presumption that the guideline child support is in the best interest of the child. A deviation may call for either an increase or a decrease in the guideline support amount. In order to rebut the presumption, the court must consider whether application of the guidelines would be “unjust” or “inappropriate”. The court uses several factors to make this determination, such as:

1. The age and needs of the child;

2. The ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;

3. Any financial resources available for the support of the child;

4. The amount of time of possession of and access to a child;

5. Whether the obligor has less net resources that the obligor should have because he or she is intentionally unemployed or underemployed.