When it comes to child support in Mississippi, the calculation is pretty straightforward and guided by specific rules. Understanding these rules is important for both parents, whether they have custody of the child or not. The main factor in calculating child support is the income of the non-custodial parent, which means the parent who does not have custody of the child.
Mississippi law sets the percentages of the non-custodial parent’s income to calculate child support payments. These percentages are based on the number of children that need the support. For example, it’s 14% of the non-custodial parent’s adjusted gross income for one child. Then, it increases with every additional child. Eventually, it reaches a cap of 26% for five or more children.
In this article, we’ll take a minute to explain what exactly the court will consider income, how shared custody can change the numbers, and how you can modify or enforce an existing child support plan so your needs are met. If you have questions or concerns related to Mississippi child support, call The Law Offices of Rusty Williard today.
What Counts as Income for Child Support?
In Mississippi, when calculating child support, the court looks at a wide range of income sources from the non-custodial parent. This includes not just their regular salary but also any additional bonuses and benefits. However, it’s not just the total income that’s considered. The court also takes into account certain deductions from the non-custodial parent’s income before calculating the amount they are required to pay. These deductions include taxes and other mandatory payments that the parent is legally obligated to provide.
For example, the parent’s income from salaries, bonuses, and benefits is first reduced by subtracting federal and state taxes, Social Security contributions, and retirement plan contributions. The income left after these deductions is known as the adjusted gross income. It’s this adjusted gross income that is used to calculate the child support payment. This ensures the amount is based on what the non-custodial parent can realistically afford after their mandatory taxes and expenses. The goal is to provide a fair and accurate assessment of what the non-custodial parent can reasonably afford for the child’s needs.
The Impact of Shared Custody on Mississippi Child Support
In Mississippi, when parents have shared custody, it can change how much child support is needed. This is because both parents are spending time with the child and paying for their needs directly. If both parents have the child for about the same amount of time, the child support amount might be less.
The court looks at how much each parent earns and how they share the child’s expenses. Sometimes, the court might adjust child support based on what the child needs or if there are special costs like school or healthcare. Judges have the final say, and they aim to make decisions that are best for the child. The main idea is to make sure the child is well taken care of, no matter how the parents share custody.
Modifying Your Child Support Plan
To modify a child support agreement in Mississippi, you usually need to show that there has been a significant change in circumstances since your last agreement was made. This could be a significant change in income for either parent, a change in the child’s needs, or anything else that affects how much support is needed.
You start by filing a petition with the court that originally handled your child support case. The court will review your request and decide if the changes are big enough to adjust the child support amount. It’s important to keep paying the current amount until the court makes a new decision. If you need help, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer who knows about family law in Mississippi. The Law Offices of Rusty Williard can guide you through the process and make sure everything is done right.
Enforcing Your Child Support Plan
The main problem with a fair and comprehensive Mississippi child support plan is that it actually needs to be followed. If the non-custodial parent is missing payments or refusing to pay altogether, the state’s child support services can enforce it.
They can take money directly from the parent’s paycheck or tax return to ensure the child’s needs are met. If these steps don’t work, the court can order the parent to pay and threaten legal action if they don’t. People can actually be sent to prison for missing child support payments in extreme circumstances. Debtor’s prison was abolished in America in the 1800s, but individuals can still be put in prison for refusing to pay. They are not jailed for the debt itself but for failing to comply with a court order to pay their child support.
These are, of course, extreme cases. Usually, the only thing that is needed to make a non-custodial parent pay is to meet with them in an official setting and discuss the situation. It’s always best to have your attorney present in case things get heated. Typically, the threat of legal action is all that is required to get your child the funds they need.
Call The Law Offices of Rusty Williard for All Your Child Support Needs
Navigating child support in Mississippi can be complex, but understanding the basics of how it’s calculated, modified, and enforced is essential for your child’s needs. Whether you’re dealing with adjustments in income, shared custody, or enforcing an existing child support plan, it’s important to have clear guidance and expert advice.
If you are unsure about any aspect of child support, or if you need to make changes to your current plan, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. At The Law Offices of Rusty Williard, we have the knowledge and experience to assist you through every step of your process.
Call The Law Offices of Rusty Williard today at (601) 824-9797 for a free consultation. You can take the first step towards securing the financial support your child deserves.