Child Support Guidelines.
Generally, you must determine the net monthly income of both parents. The net incomes are used to determine the amount of child support.
Net income is calculated using very specific rules. Therefore, to properly calculated a child support award, one must review at least one month of pay stubs and one to two years of tax returns, as well as all deductions from pay such as retirement accounts, health insurance and union dues. Some of these deductions are added back in to the net income amount for purposes of calculating support.
For most cases, ordinary expenses are not a consideration for the purposes of calculating support. However, like any rule, there are exceptions. Certain extraordinary expenses are considered, such as daycare, tuition and unusually high mortgage payments. This can change the guideline amount.
An accurate child support analysis requires a review of all of the income and expenses of the family. An experiences lawyer will utilize the guidelines, rules and exceptions to calculate the appropriate child support amount.
The following are examples of simple cases to illustrate typical amounts of child support:
(1) Mother has primary custody of the parties’ two minor children. Father earns $4,500 net per month. Mother earns $2,000 net per month. There are no day care expenses. Assuming no extraordinary facts that would cause a deviation from the guidelines, under the present child support guidelines, Father’s obligation would be $1,002 per month.
(2) Mother has primary custody of one minor child, an infant. Due to the tender years doctrine, Mother does not work and is not imputed an earning capacity. Father earns $6,000 net per month Father’s support obligation would be $1,016 per month.
(3) Father and Mother equally share primary custody of three children. Father earns $4,000 per month. Mother earns $7,000 net per month. There are no daycare expenses. Even though the parties share custody of the children equally, Mother will still owe a child support obligation to Father but she will be eligible for a reduction from the guideline amount due to her shared custody. Mother’s support obligation would be $921 per month.
(4) Mother has primary custody of two children. Mother incurs day care expenses of $800 per month. Father earns $3,500 net per month and Mother earns $2,500. Father’s child support obligation would be $792 per month plus $467 for daycare expenses. As you can see, daycare expenses significantly increase child support awards.
(5) Mother has primary custody of two minor children and does not work pursuant to the nurturing parent doctrine. She is not assigned an earning capacity. Father earns $17,000 net per month. Father’s child support would be $2,539 per month for two children.
The above examples include only extremely basic scenarios. The calculation of net income must take into account all of the net income, including bonuses, business income, commissions, rents, interest and fluctuating income.
An accurate child support calculation involves a detailed analysis of many factors. Even though we have child support guidelines, there are many exceptions and deviations. The above referenced examples can give you an idea of sample child support awards at varying income levels. However, to determine the child support for your specific situation, you should consult with an attorney.