Child support payments are designed to give the child a chance at the same standard of living they would have experienced if two parents had raised them. Divorced, separated, or unwed individuals who conceive a child are obligated under Mississippi law to support it financially. Commonly, one parent is granted full custody of the child, while the other makes payments based on a percentage of their income. The more children they have, the higher the percentage, and the more money they make, the higher the payment.
The Percentage of Income
The law in Mississippi states that a portion of the non-custodial parent’s gross income is awarded to the custodial parent. Gross income means the sum of all wages, salaries, and profits before taxes. This percentage is 14% for one child, 20% for two children, 22% for three children, 24% for four children, and 26% for five or more children. These payments are made until the child’s emancipation occurs at age 21 or when the child joins the military or otherwise becomes self-supporting.
Joint or shared custody of the child between the two parents will generally compel the court to assign a lower percentage of child support. Mississippi law allows the case judge to use a shared custody agreement as “justification for variation” on the state’s standard percentage calculations.
Extraordinary Medical Costs
There are specific guidelines for each parent contributing to a child who has extraordinary medical costs that are separate from and in addition to child support. These are considered a “deviation factor,” which means a judge can assign additional payments to cover things like hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, and treatments.
Although the court hopes that each parent wants to help with the financial responsibilities of their children, it’s not always the case. If one parent becomes delinquent in their child support payments, The Mississippi Division of Child Support Enforcement is authorized to enforce payment in the following ways:
- Withholding income directly from the custodial parent’s paychecks
- Intercepting unemployment checks
- Issuing warrants for non-compliance that result in potential incarceration
- Seizure of the noncustodial parent’s driver’s license and/or passport
If you have questions about how child support will be calculated for you or your former spouse, contact The Law Offices of Rusty Willard at (601) 824-9797.