If you have kids and you’re going through a divorce, you probably have thought about child support. Every state in the US has a formula for calculating how much child support is paid, and judges use this formula to eliminate any question of unfairness to ensure a smooth transition for both parties involved.
Although child support is paid to the child’s primary caregiver, note that it is the right of the child. In most states in the US, child support is paid until the child has reached the age of 18 or perhaps finishes high school. Some states, however, require child support to continue through college.
Here are some determinants that influences the amount of child support:
Income of parents
The biggest factor that determines the amount of child support is the income of both parents, especially that of the noncustodial parents. At the start of the case, both parents will have to submit the following in court:
- A recent W-2 tax document
- Paystubs to show hourly salary rate, total hours worked, and tax exemptions.
- Documents disclosing wages, overtime pay, payments from IRA, rental incomes, commissions, bonuses, tips, gratuities, and any benefits from employers.
In a case where a parent is self-employed, the court will review the returns on taxes to effectively determine income.
Paying parents can’t pay
If the noncustodial parent is out of a job, or perhaps earns very little that makes it impossible to meet the required amount, the court might order a lower support amount. However, the court requires that they return to the court at a specific time to know their current situation and adjust the child support accordingly.
A child with special needs or interest
If the child in question requires special care or has unusual medical, psychological, or educational needs, this could attract a higher amount of child support. In a case where the child has a special interest in an activity, such as sports or any other activities of interest, the custodial parents might ask the judge to order the noncustodial parents to pay an additional amount to support the child’s interest.
Some child support calculators include the number of times each parent pays a visit, and it can influence the amount paid as child support. The reason for this is to compensate each parent for the time they are financially responsible for the child.
If, on the other hand, both parents have been sharing equal financial responsibility for the well-being of the child, the custodial parent might only need a small amount to support the child financially.
For an idea of how much child support to pay, check your state’s calculator by entering your state’s name and ‘child support calculator’ into a search engine like Google.
For professional guidance, you might need to work with a child support attorney to help protect your interest and that of your child. Feel free to call us or fill our contact form.