Knowing How Child Support Payments Are Determined

If you're going through a divorce with a child involved, be prepared that one of you will need to be making child support payments to the person that has custody. If you're able to agree on the child support payments in mediation, you will be in control of how much is paid each month. If not, a judge will make that decision for you. Here are some of the factors that go into determining how much is owed for child support.

State Guidelines

You should be aware that every state will have their own guidelines that determine how much child support must be paid. Most of these are based on the income of the paying spouse, with there being calculators that do much of the math for you.

Income alone is not used to base the total for child support payments, but start as a baseline. Other factors, like split custody, can greatly change support payments, especially if it is not split 50/50.

Major Consideration Factors

Your income will have the biggest impact on child support payments, with the parent that makes the most being made to pay the most. Keep in mind that some states use gross income while others use net income. If you previous were ordered to make support payments due to a previous marriage, either child support or alimony, those costs could be deducted from your income amount. If you make additional support payments to a former spouse that are completely voluntary, those costs can't be deducted.

Childcare costs also play a big role, and if you are the one paying for childcare, those costs can be deducted as well. The same goes for health insurance, especially if child is on your health insurance plan and you are not the custodial parent. Those premiums could be considered part of the child support costs, and you will not need to pay more because of it.

Medical expenses are also a big consideration, since special needs children will require more financial support than others. Not only are the actual medical bills considered, but any related expenses such as transportation to get to and from doctors appointments.

If you want to ensure that your child support payments are fair, it is best to work with a family law attorney that can help negotiate on your behalf. They are familiar with all of the factors that go into the final amount for child support, and what expenses can help reduce the amount paid.