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Child Support

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Child Support FAQ

How is child support decided?

Child support CAN be left up to a jury, if either parent request a jury trial on this issue.  Because it is for the child’s benefit, child support is really not based on the custodial parent’s economic needs, although that can be a factor considered by the judge; it is based almost entirely on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s average gross (before taxes) monthly income.  This can be proven by tax returns or, in the case of a self-employed or business owner, looking at other factors.

Generally speaking, child support is set at the middle range of the applicable guideline ranges, for the first $75,000.00 annual income of the non-custodial parent (unless there is another child for whom non-custodial parent is legally required to provide support):

Do I have to pay Child Support?

Child support is for the child’s benefit and cannot be waived by either parent.  If the parties want to agree to less than what the guidelines call for, they must ask the judge to make specific findings of fact permitting the judge to “deviate” downwards.  Child support, because it is for the child’s benefit, is really not based on the custodial parent’s economic needs; it is based almost entirely on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s average gross (before) monthly income.  This can be proven by tax returns or, in the case of a self-employed or business owner, looking at other factors.

Can the parents agree to neither parent paying any child support?

Not really.  Again, child support is for a child’s benefit and cannot be waived by either parent.  If the parties want to agree to less than what the guidelines call for, they must ask the judge to make specific findings of fact permitting the judge to “deviate” downwards.  Examples would include: that a child spends equal amounts of time with both parents (shared legal and physical custody); the parents are equally splitting major expenses; one of the parents earns substantially more money than the other parent.

Does the original order of support ever change?

Either party is permitted to seek a change of support, once every two (2) years.  For instance, immediately after a divorce, one party may seek a change of support, but then that party has to wait two (2) years before seeking another change.  However, within that two (2) year period, the other party could seek he or her request for a change of support (and, then that party would have to wait also).  The request for change of support needs to be based on significant income or circumstances changes; seeking a change of support without sufficient factual basis for doing so, is a waste of time and money.

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