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How Much Child Support to Expect after Divorce?

Child Support Payments Vary By State

Each state has individual laws on the books regarding how child support is determined. A specific formula is used in these cases in situations in which the non-primary custodial parent has to make payments of support to assist with eth financial obligations of the children.

The formulas in the state laws can be extremely complicated although free online calculators can help give you a general idea of what might be requested. The biggest factor in determining payments of child support has to do with how much each individual parent earns.

Child support agreement on an office table.

Various Factors Are Considered In Determining Child Support Payments

Although some states might consider the income of both parents, other states may only look at the non-custodial parent’s income. The percentage of time that each individual parent spends with the children can also be a crucial factor in determining support payments. The majority of states across the country will consider some or all of these factors in making a determination about child support:

  • Ages of the children
  • Which parent is responsible for health insurance coverage
  • Which parent pays for daycare if necessary
  • Whether either parent is paying alimony or child support associated with a previous marriage
  • Whether either parent is already receiving alimony or child support from a previous marriage
  • Whether either parent gets a regular income
  • Whether either parent has a new spouse or partner living with them who contributes to household expenses

Child Support VS Alimony

The majority of courts believe that a child support award is more important than a spousal support award. This is why child support is frequently calculated first and then the evaluation of what’s left is considered in the alimony determination. Some states may also classify income separately.

Some consider a person’s gross income, others will include net and others may calculate bonuses, gifts or overtime. In the event that there is significant investment income associated with one parent, that could also be accounted as income for the purposes of determining child support.

What To Do When You Don’t Agree With The State Guidelines

If you believe that the general guidelines within your state should not apply to your individual case but your spouse does not agree with you, you may need to ensure that you have crafted a compelling argument for the judge. This is because judges have discretion over child support awards and they may deviate from the established guidelines if necessary. A judge may consider setting child support below or above the guideline amount in the state if any of the following situations apply:

  • A child has special interest or needs such as medical concerns
  • The paying parent is not following through on his or her responsibility to pay
  • The paying parent is unable to pay
  • The non-custodial parent can afford to pay more
  • The guideline outlines more than what is necessary

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