The Truth About Child Support
Today, I thought we’d do a follow-up to my post on ending a marriage. If your marriage got to a point where it was making you unhappy, then you may have thought that all your problems would be over once the divorce was finalized. I’d love to tell you this was true!
After the divorce, there are many different technicalities and legal issues you have to work through. Here’s a brief introduction to the ways child support is calculated.
State To State Child Support
As you’re probably aware, child support payment models vary depending on the state you live in. One of these plans is known as the “income shares” model. In this situation, the court dictates child support payments by looking at the income of both you and your ex, as well as the number of children you have.
We’ll run through an example here. Let’s say that a non-custodial parent (typically your ex-husband) has an income of $2,500 a month, whereas you have an income of $2,000 a month, the total is $4,500. After establishing this, the court will determine total monthly child support. This is done using a formula which calculates the expected cost of raising a child. With these figures, the court will set the total support obligation at $1,125 per child. The non-custodial parent would be obliged to pay $625.50 in support; 55% of the total child support obligation.
The other main method for calculating child support is the “percentage of income” model. In states that use this model, the court will calculate child support payments based on a given percentage of the gross or net income of the non-custodial parent. The number of children, of course, also comes into play. Depending on the state you’re in, this percentage can be variable or flat.
In states where it’s flat, the percentage of the income won’t change, regardless of how much the non-custodial parent’s income changes. In varying states, however, the percentage is adjusted as the non-custodial parent’s income fluctuates. If a flat percentage was 25%, for example, and we took the income figures from the last example, then the non-custodial parent would have to pay out $625.00 a month.
While these formulas get used a lot, it’s important to remember that the court has a certain level of discretion. If they think it’s appropriate, the court may deviate from the state’s model, and model their child support on other factors. The child’s standard of living before the divorce, the current needs of the child, and the ability of the non-custodial parent to pay can all come into the equation.
When there’s reason to put the state’s payment model aside, things can get a little more complicated than you might like. You may want to consider hiring a family law firm like Skillern Firm. The situation becomes even more complicated when one parent has to pay support to more than one family, and you factor in the child’s own resources (inheritance, trust etc.)
If you were confused about child support, I hope this post did something to help you through this difficult time.