When you have kids, child custody and child support can become two highly contentious issues. The outcome of these matters can have a tremendous impact on your relationship with your child and your financial stability. But if you want to protect your interests as well as those of your children, then you have to know how to confidently navigate these issues.
This week on the blog we want to take a quick look at how child custody is calculated and ordered. Although we hope that this post will be informative, we also encourage you to reach out to an attorney if you feel like you need additional guidance navigating the specific issues that you’re confronting.
How is child support determined?
The presumption under the law is that both parents will financially contribute to their child’s upbringing. To achieve this goal, the state has implemented child support guidelines, which sets a standard to be utilized when calculating child support payments.
To start, the court will look at each parent’s income to determine their basic child support obligation. This income is based on each parent’s adjusted gross income. Generally speaking, each parent’s support obligation will be tied to the percentage of income that they earn. For example, if you earn 60% of the income earned by you and your child’s other parent, then you’ll be presumed to pay for 60% of your child’s financial support.
It’s worth noting that this basic child support obligation creates a rebuttable presumption. This means that you can argue to the court why your support obligation should be lower and the other parent’s obligation should be higher. Here are some reasons why the court might adjust a support obligation:
- The number of children being supported: The more children that need supported, the more a child support obligation may be. While this might not impact the proportion of support paid it could depending on the next factor.
- Extra expenses: Your children might have uninsured medical expenses, or they may need other special care. Your children might have costs tied to their extracurricular activities, too. These expenses can vary by child and may increase or decrease the support obligation.
- Income: Although a support obligation should be proportional to an individual’s proportion of the two parents’ income, sometimes one’s income is insufficient to meet that standard. When this is the case, one parent may see their support obligation increased while the other parent’s financial responsibility decreases.
- The amount of time spent with your children: This factor is relevant because a paying spouse may be able to escape some support obligation if they’re taking care of the child for a significant period of time. This is often the case when the non-custodial parent has the child in their home for several full days each month.
Don’t be taken advantage of in your child support dispute
The outcome of your child support dispute can have a tremendous impact on your financial stability. Perhaps more importantly, it dictates how your child’s needs are going to be met. You want this matter to play out properly. Otherwise, you’re going to be left with an outcome that is unfair, unjust, and perhaps even hurtful to your child.