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How Child Support is Determined

Child Support paymentSo you can establish predictability and consistency in the quantity of child support received, the federal government will mandate child support guidelines in order to be used by the states. The guidelines differ in each state.


Many of the guidelines take into account the income of both of the parents. The percentage of a couple’s combined income which each parent contributes assists in determining the quantity they’ll be obligated to pay in child support. A few states are going to base their formula upon gross income, whereby other ones are going to use net income.


If the parent already is paying alimony or child support from a prior situation, they’ll usually be permitted to deduct that quantity from their income. Generally, there are a couple of requirements to be eligible for the deduction: the support payments have to be court-ordered (and not voluntary) and a parent actually must be making payments. The parent isn’t permitted to make deductions from her or his income for the support of subsequent children or spouse.

Childcare expense

Usually, states also will take into account the quantity the parents have to spend on childcare to work or search for work. A few states are going to adjust the amount permitted for this cost to take into consideration the federal dependent care exemption upon federal income taxes. Within states which offer a dependent care exemption upon state income taxes, the cost also might be adjusted in order to reflect this.

Healthcare cost

A child support order must define who’ll pay for a child’s health insurance. The quantity spent upon health insurance will be added to the basic support order then credited to a parent who pays it. Most states’ guidelines will call for a specific quantity of extra support to cover any out-of-pocket health care costs which might be incurred. Also, extraordinary medical costs are going to be taken into account.

Shared Visitation and Custody

Most of the guidelines attempt to account for the period of time the children spend with each parent in deciding the quantity of the support award. The more time a children spends with a non-custodial parent, the more costs that parent will incur to support the child. In circumstance in which there’s extensive visitation or shared custody, the child support amount awarded probably is less than in circumstances in which there’s little visitation and sole custody.