How Child Support is Calculated
In order to determine the appropriate amount of child support, the Court utilizes what is known as the “Child Support Guidelines.” The Child Support Guidelines is a computer program that calculates child support based on certain factors and information entered into the program. These factors include, but are not limited to:
Each parents income
The number of overnights spent with the child by each parent
The child’s share of the parent’s health insurance premium
The guidelines include predictable and recurring expenses after calculation of the basic support obligation. Therefore, a percentage for housing, food, clothing, footwear, outerwear, utilities, toiletries, transportation, uncovered medical expenses of up to $250 per year per child, extracurricular activities, etc. are already incorporated into the Child Support Guidelines.
In certain instances, the Court may deviate from the Child Support Guidelines, such as cases involving a special needs child. The Child Support Guidelines are inapplicable in high income situations where the parents combined income exceeds $187,000.00.
The Court must review any agreement regarding child support to determine whether the amount being paid is equitable and sufficient to provide for the needs of the child.
Sometimes a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. In such cases, the court may estimate the parent’s potential earning capacity using factors such as earning history, training, education, and available jobs in the area. The court may calculate child support based on such “imputed” income.
Modification of Child Support
A child support obligation can be increased or decreased if there is a change in circumstances. For example, if the parenting time schedule changes resulting in an increase in overnights with the non-custodial parent or one parent’s income significantly increases or decreases.
Failure to pay child support
Not paying child support can result in arrears, bench-warrants, revoked driver’s licenses, loss of a tax refund, Court-imposed real estate liens, and reports sent to credit bureaus to damage your credit.