Divorce Law: Paying Child Support

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The state determines the amount that a non-custodial parent has to pay for child support. Therefore, each state has their own guidelines for this matter. The income of both parents however seems to be the primary consideration regardless of the area you are in. Either net income or gross income is used as a part of their formula. Generally, the percentage that each parent contributes to the marriage is will play a big role in the amount of child support owed.

If a parent receives non-wage benefits from their employer, then it could be considered income. An example for instance is having access to a company car to do business.

If the parent ordered to pay child support is already paying support for previous divorce, then typically that amount will be deducted from their income. This is assuming that the support payments were organized in court, and not in an uncontested divorce where an arrangement was made between the two spouses. Also included is the child’s health insurance costs. If any medical expenses are incurred outside of the insurance, then more money may be added to the support payments.

If the child has any special needs, then this may increase child support as well. For instance, if he or she is handicapped, is gifted, or needs special education, then the basic support would call for covering at least a portion of these expenses. Visitation expenses are generally divided between the two parents.

The more time the non-custodial parent gets to spend with their children, the more child support he or she will have to pay. In situations of extensive visitation or shared custody, the amount paid will be less.

The guidelines outlined by the state usually determine the amount of child support paid. However, if there are extenuating circumstances, they could either lower or increase the payments. A judicial determination will have to be made in this regard in order to overrule the guidelines.

Can the terms of an existing child support change? The answer is yes, assuming that the two parents can agree to the modifications. However, the judge will still have the final call before it can go through. If one parent wants modifications and the other doesn’t, then it can be taken to court for a hearing. Here, the parent who wants changes can make a case as to why they should occur. However, unless something substantial has occurred, the courts will hold up the previous agreement.

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