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Don’t Get Gummed Up on Child Support Calculations

Calculating child support is not straightforward. Child support refers to a support obligation owing on behalf of a child or an amount owing to a county for reimbursement of public assistance paid on behalf of a child. It also refers to past-due support and arrearages; and, for children owed a duty of support, includes maintenance and education. It isn’t true that only one parent owes a duty of support. Both parents have a duty to support their minor children “in the manner suitable to the child's circumstances.”

One parent, however, may have superior resources to pay for the maintenance of a couple’s children. Child support is calculated using state guidelines and is in fact called “guideline support.” There are limited circumstances where support will deviate from guideline.

Child support is calculated taking into account a myriad of factors, such as the time each parent has with the children, tax filing status and exemptions, income and tax deductions. The Court takes into account each parent’s current financial station, balancing income from any source and tax deductions which either expand net income or reduce it. The net result is a monthly support amount that is owed to the children. Bonuses and overtime may contribute additional support. A court may also order a parent to cover the children’s health insurance and the parties may split uninsured medical expenses and “add-ons” such as educational expenses and child-care costs.

Parents may pursue a child support action in any family law case. Parents do not have to be married to litigate child support.

A parent may hire an attorney to litigate child support or use the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). When DCSS is not involved, a Court will have a hearing for support and arrive at a support calculation using the Dissomaster software that mirrors the state guidelines. When DCSS is involved, DCSS will calculate support using its own system. If you’d like to approximate support for yourself, you can go on the DCSS website and put in your own values: Once you examine everything involved, however, you will probably want some help.

Ultimately, the calculation of child support entails knowledge of the law as well as familiarity with the guideline calculations and factors. Contact the firm today and we will provide a preliminary calculation of child support in an initial consultation!


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