Child Support – How is it Calculated? (A Helpful U.S. Perspective)

The dissolution of a marriage, also called a divorce, is never an easy thing to deal with. It becomes increasingly more difficult and heart breaking when there are kids involved. Once you’ve decided that divorce is the only option, you’ll need to start the process if legally ending the marriage. As a part of this process, one of the parents will likely get custody of any minor children. It’s also safe to assume that the other partner will probably be on the hook for child support until a certain agreed upon time in the future, most likely when the kids turn 18 years old. There are many good child support calculators available online, find one geared towards the state that you’ll be filing for divorce in.

According to a top Arizona child custody attorney there are a few key factors in determining how Child Support is calculated, they are:

  • Family Income – Most child support guidelines take into account, the income from both parents. Some states base their formula on gross income, while others chose to use net income as a guide.
  • Child Support Deductions – In a situation where one parent is already paying child support from a previous marriage or situation, that may qualify to be deducted from their income. In most cases, there are 2 qualifiers for this deduction, they are: 1) the previous child support must be court ordered, and 2) the parent must be making the payments.
  • Child Care & Healthcare Expenses – Most states will consider child care expenses that are incurred while the parents are working. The federal government and the states have set-up child care deductions and other benefits. Healthcare can be a major sticking point in child support because it is of utmost importance to determine who will pay for the child’s health insurance. Typically, the amount spent on insurance is added to the child support order and then credited to the parent who pays for it.
  • Custody and Visitation – Many child support guidelines attempt to account for the time each parent has the child or children. The more time that the children spend with the non-custodial parent, the higher the expenses that parent incurs to support the kids. In many situations where there is shared custody, the award amount to the custodial parent will be less than if there was sole custody.

These are just a few of the things that go into calculating child support. You should always consult with a Family Law Specialist when you have decided that divorce is the only option. As a parent, you have rights and those need to be accounted for when the division or property and custody occurs. You should also research the laws or guidelines in your state as they relate to child support matters.

This post is from The Cantor Law Group a Family Law firm based in Phoenix, AZ.