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How is Child Support Determined?

Child SupportBesides the emotional toll a divorce takes on a couple, the financial strain it can cause can be devastating.  Divorces are expensive.  Lawyer’s fees with court costs can be in the thousands of dollars.  Decisions on division of property may cause financial ruin.  When children are involved, there is almost always one party who will ultimately be paying child support.  Those who find themselves paying child support may feel the amount awarded is unfair.  If you know of people who pay child support, you know they struggle with any remaining money to pay their own bills.  With the varying amounts awarded for child support one wonders how these amounts are determined.

In determining an amount for child support, each state uses its own formula.  There are many things to take into consideration.  When support is awarded it is normally calculated considering the minor children will be primarily residing with one parent.  Net incomes for both parents are taken into consideration as well as costs such as day care and medical coverage.  Using this data will allow the court to determine an amount. 

Many times there are circumstances not covered by the generic calculations.  Maybe the parent who will be paying support has other children that are already receiving support from him or her.  Perhaps the parents have come to an agreement on having the child or children share equal time at each residence.  Maybe the custodial parent receives a higher wage than the other parent.  All of these factors need to be taken into consideration by the court.

In cases where the child support will take a majority of the parent who is paying it, it may seem unfair.  That parent is now forced to work at an additional job or live minimalistic ally in order to pay the support and live.  Courts are not out to devastate someone financially, however, the main concern will be for the welfare of the child.  The court will ensure the needs of the child are met above and beyond all else.

The best way to ensure you are getting all the facts known about your financial situation and obligations is to retain an attorney who knows what information is needed.  All facts are needed to make as fair an award of child support as there can be.  If employment statuses change the court can always adjust the amounts accordingly.