Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How is child support determined in a divorce? What do courts consider as fair?

In order to provide family courts and judges overseeing divorce cases some sort of reference when it comes to determining terms of divorce such as alimony, child custody, property division, mortgage division, and child support awards, the federal government has issued some guidelines that are used by all 50 states in the country.

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However, some of the guidelines may vary from one state to the other since state laws are different everywhere. In order to get a clear understanding of the guidelines in your state specifically, we suggest you consult with a divorce lawyer who can be found right here

Understandably, one of the key factors that a judge will consider while determining who is responsible for paying child support, how much the child support payments should be, and how long these payments should be made for is the income of each parent. As per the federal guidelines, the percentage of the couple's combined income that each parent contributes to should be considered when figuring out how much child support each parent is responsible for paying.

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This math is not that hard. You do not need Will Hunting (Matt Damon) from Good Will Hunting to figure this out. You do not need the brains of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) from the pitiful Independence Day movie either to determine this mathematical solution out either. It is pretty straightforward.

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In some states, the gross income is used in the above mentioned formula while some other states consider the net income. 


In case one of the parents is in a situation where they are already paying child support or alimony (from a previous divorce), then this amount will be deducted from their income before applying the formula in order to determine their child support obligations in the current or on-going divorce, say divorce attorneys.'

However, these support payments will only be deducted if and when they are court ordered. If they are voluntary payments which aren't court ordered then the payments will not be eligible for deductions. 

Childcare expense

How much is required to care for the child in a non-compromising manner will also be taken into consideration when determining child support. In some states where the state provides exemption on state income taxes, the expense will be adjusted to reflect these exemptions too.

Healthcare expenses

The court order which deals with child support will also need to explicitly specify which parent will be responsible for paying for the child's or children's healthcare insurance premiums. The cost of these premiums will then be added onto the basic child support order and will be credited to the parent who is paying the premiums.

Divorce lawyers point out that extraordinary medical expenses are being considered as well in recent times. And with America’s health care situation falling apart, this is a concern for many.  

Knowing when to ask for help

Going through a divorce is never easy. It is a highly stressful time where you may go through an emotional roller coaster. To add to the complications, divorce laws are extensive and the legal process requires a lot of patience, focus, and effort. Therefore, the best course of action would be to appoint a divorce lawyer who will navigate you through the process and make it as hassle free and smooth as possible.

Contact us if you have any questions. We will call you back in no time at all.   

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