Figuring out how much child support is owed can be a complex calculation. How much child support is owed is based on a number of factors. For a simplified explanation of how to figure out child support payment amounts, read below.
Income Percentages or Income Shares
Almost all states use one of two main methods of looking at the parent's income when deciding on child support. With the income percentage model, only the non-custodial parent's income is evaluated. The percentage of income dedicated to child support varies from state to state. In some states, the percentage rate remains steady throughout the child support obligation period. With a sliding scale, though, the percentage can change if the parent's income changes. In both cases, the number of children under the age of 18 also affects the amount. For instance, if the non-custodial parent makes $3,000 a month (net or gross, it varies by state) and the percentage ordered is 20%, then the parent would pay $600 a month for child support.
The income share method takes into account both parent's income by adding them together. Each parent owes a specific share of support for the child based on their income. The total amount owed is based on how much support each parent should contribute based on their income. For example, if the non-custodial parent makes $3,000 a month and the custodial parent makes $1,500, then the two together make $4,500. If state guidelines indicate that it takes $1,000 per month to raise a child, then that figure is divided by each parent's obligation. The custodial parent's share is 33.3 percent and the non-custodial parent's share is 66.6 of the $1,000 (within a few cents) based on the differences in income.
Other Contributing Factors
Once the above calculations arrive at a figure, other factors are considered when deciding child support:
To find out more about family law and how your state determines child support and how much you might owe or can expect, reach out to a local law firm, like Ward & Myers LLP.
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