Child Support: How Judges Determine The Amount Paid

You may have heard that keeping your divorce disagreements out of court can be advantageous to both your wallet and your emotional well-being. For the most part, you will find that issues about debt and property division, and child custody and visitation are best agreed upon outside of court. Child support amounts, however, are another matter. Read on to get a better understanding of how family court judges determine how much child support will be paid. 

Calculations Based on Income

Child support amounts have become largely standardized with the amounts ordered based on your particular state's median income. These calculators relieve some of the burden on family court judges to determine appropriate contributions from the non-custodial parent for the support of their minor child. Although the calculator can provide a general idea of the support amount you might expect, there are other mitigating factors that judges consider such as the type of income (salary, seasonal, contract, commission, etc), child custody percentage (50%, 25%, etc) and more. Other main factors taken into account include: 

1. Income: Although it varies by state, either gross income or net income is used for the calculation. Normally, the higher the earner, the greater the percentage of support they will be ordered to pay.

2. Previous Support Orders: Parents who already have child support obligations can deduct that amount from the calculated income. Be certain that the support amounts are up-to-date and that the support paid is actually derived from a court order, not a voluntary payment.

3. Childcare Expenses: This amount may be deducted from the income of the parent paying for daycare or babysitting services.

4. Health Insurance for the Child: Take care when deducting the expense for healthcare premiums from the income. In most states, the issue of who is to provide health insurance for the child is addressed in a specific section of the divorce agreement, and only the parent named in the agreement is eligible to use that deduction for child support calculation purposes.

5. Miscellaneous Deductions: For those with children who have special needs, the parent who pays for any special equipment, medical expenses, transportation, etc., may deduct that amount from any child support calculation. Additionally, expenses for children who must travel to comply with custody or visitation orders can deduct that amount.

Keep in mind that the family court system keeps open all orders involving minor children, so child support, custody, and visitation issues may be re-visited when needed. Consult with a local divorce attorney (such as Kenneth J. Molnar Attorney) for more information about how child support amounts are determined. Kenneth J. Molnar Attorney) for more information about how child support amounts are determined.