Separating from a spouse or partner is a complicated process. However, when children are involved the entire thing can become stressful and overwhelming. Part of that stress comes from the uncertainty of what life will be like after you no longer live in the same home as your children. You may also not be familiar with how things like custody and visitation will work. One element of the process is calculating child support. Many factors go into arriving at this number, and it may seem confusing at first. The best thing you can do before going through the legal process is familiarizing yourself with these three factors that the court looks at when arriving at a proper child support amount.
- Income-Based Support
Both parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children. The state uses an income-shared model to come to a basic amount that a child needs monthly in support. This method considers the combined income of the parents as if they were still living together and sharing the day-to-day costs of raising their children. Finding this figure is the first step in arriving at an appropriate child support amount.
- Divvy Up Basic Expenses
Once the basic support calculation is made, the court looks at the disparity in the parents’ income. One parent may make substantially more than the other, and as such, becomes more financially responsible for the children. This percentage split will apply to all financial aspects that go into computing monthly support, including basic needs such as:
- Health insurance
- Medical care
- Prescription costs
The amount each parent is responsible for is based on the disparity in their income. As such, the parent who makes more will have to contribute more to the children’s care.
- Number of Overnights
The final prong in calculating child support is the number of overnights the children spend with each parent. If you and your ex have a true 50/50 physical custody agreement, there is a chance that neither will have to pay anything to the other, especially if the disparity in their incomes is minimal. However, it is also entirely possible to have your children in your care half the time and still have to make child support payments to the other parent. If one parent has substantially fewer overnights, then their monthly support obligation to the other increases.
Understanding how child support calculations and payments work may seem impossible. However, seeking the help of a professional divorce lawyer from a law firm like Brandy Austin Law Firm could prove beneficial in dealing with pre or post-decree matters.