Child support is affected by the custody arrangement set out during your divorce proceedings. Commonly, one parent lives with the child or children, and the other parent pays some amount of child support. The “custodial parent” is the one who has the children for more than 50% of the time, and the other parent is called the “noncustodial parent.” Both parents are responsible for supporting the child(ren), but the law assumes the custodial parent does so directly.
Calculating Child Support
The amount of child support you pay is based on set percentages to be taken out of your adjusted gross income, and it goes up for every child until 5. The percentage for one child is 14%, two is 20%, three is 22%, four is 24%, and five or more children is 26%. Here is a handy calculator to help you determine how much you’ll pay. You and your former spouse are also welcome to develop your own plan for paying child support, but it must be submitted in writing and approved by the judge.
Adjusting The Amount
The child support guidelines presented above are the default setting for most child support cases. There are, however, extenuating circumstances that may lead to an adjustment of the set amount. Some of the factors that may affect the child support amount are:
- Expensive medical bills. A judge may see these as a reason to collect more from the noncustodial parent.
- Alimony. If spousal support is particularly high, a judge may lower the amount of child support required.
- The child has an independent income. If the child is old enough to get a job, child support may be lowered.
Requesting A Review
You can request a review of your child support order every three years. This is an independent review based on the same metric that assigned the child support in the first place. But if your income has gone significantly up or down in the past three years, the support amount may be adjusted. Also, you can request a modification of the amount you pay anytime you have proof of a significant life event. Losing your job or having a new baby are examples of significant life events.
If you have more questions about reviewing or modifying your child support order, call The Law Offices of Rusty Willard at (601) 824-9797.