A Bit Of Info For How Child Support Is Determined

If you have children and are not living with the other parent, you will most likely have to pay child support. Even if the other parent says you do not have to pay, if you go to court for any reason that involves the children, such as a legal separation, custody, or divorce, the court will tell you both that the money is the children's', not the parent's. While this may allow for a lesser sum to be paid, it will not wipe it completely. Here is a bit of information on how the court will determine how much you need to pay for child support.

Income Shares

In some states, the salary of both parents is used to determine child support. The income is combined and then the percentage each parent has is used. For example, if the non-custodial parent makes $3,000 a month and the custodial parent makes $2,000 a month, the non-custodial parent will be responsible for 60 percent of the cost of raising the children. Each state has a set amount for this cost. If your state claims it costs $1,000 a month, the non-custodial parent will need to pay $600 a month per child.

Percentage of Income

Other states use a straight percentage of income model for child support. The percentage increases with each child. An example would be 27 percent for one child, 31 percent for two children, and 35 percent for three. So, the non-custodial parent above would pay $810 for one child, $930 for two, and $1,050 for three.

Joint Custody

If you and the other parent share custody, more than just every other weekend and sometime during school vacations, the amount of child support owed will be decreased. The court will determine how many nights the children spend with each parent and then use that in addition to both above models. For example, say you have the children 165 nights out of the year, with the other parent having them 200 nights. If the income shares rule is used, you would pay 45 percent less than the $600 a month per child, paying only $330 a month per child. If the percentage of income rule is used, the state will have a different percentage set, perhaps instead of 27, 31, and 35, it would be 15, 17, and 30 percent respectively.

If you find the amount of child support to be too high for you to be able to pay your own living expenses, you need to talk with a child support lawyer. While you will not get out of paying any support, the amount can be decreased is some situations. The other parent will have an attorney trying to keep the higher payments, so do not try to fight it without legal representation.