In any case involving children, child support is a central issue. Normally the parent who has primary physical custody of the child is the parent receiving child support. This is because it is presumed that the custodial parent is already spending money to support the child, such as expenses for rent, utilities, and groceries. Determining the amount of child support is done using a specific mathematical formula.
The first set of numbers required is both parents' net income. To arrive at the net income, the support guideline calculator will take a parent's gross income (i.e. Income before any taxes or other deductions) and make certain allowable deductions. The term “income” does not only mean income generated from a base salary. If a parent receives rents, commissions, annuities, lottery payments, or social security income, for example, any and all of these would be included in the gross income amount. If a parent's income varies from month to month, the court will often average out several months. The court will then take allowable deductions, which include such things as federal taxes, mandatory union dues, and health insurance premiums.
In addition to the parents' net incomes, other figures that are needed to calculate child support include the amount of time the child spends with each parent, whether either parent is paying child support for children of a different relationship, job related expenses, and health insurance paid for the child. Other relevant costs, such as day care expenses and traveling expenses for visitation may also be taken into account.
The amount generated by this formula is presumed to be the amount of support that is appropriate. However, a judge has latitude to change this amount if the result is unfair or somehow fails to take into account all of a child's needs. For example, a court can change the support amount to account for extraordinary recurring medical costs for the child.
We have extensive experience in helping our clients arrive at a child support amount that is fair and benefits their child. Contact us today at 619-800-0384 for a consultation to discuss your child support.