Each state has its own child support guidelines that are determined by statute or that state’s rules of family law procedure. Child support is ordered when the parents divorce or if a child is born out of wedlock if the father can be identified. If the father doesn’t agree that the child is his, the court may order a DNA test to determine parentage. The person with secondary custody pays the person with primary custody. If the parents share equal custody, they can opt to waive child support if their incomes are close enough to equal.
Depending on your state, child support may be based on your gross income or your net income. Taxes are deducted either on the financial affidavit or on the child support guidelines worksheet because they are mandatory payments that reduce the amount available for child support. Other mandatory payments, such as union dues deducted from your paycheck, are also not used for computing child support. Health insurance premiums deducted from your paycheck are not considered a mandatory payment because it is your choice to pay.
Alimony is considered income to the receiving party and loss of income for the paying party. When figuring child support, alimony is calculated — it is deducted from the paying party’s income and added to the receiving party’s income.
The percentages paid for child support depend on your state’s formula. For example, Florida adds the net incomes of the two parties together to get the total household income. It divides the father’s income by the total to get the father’s percentage and the mother’s income by the total to get the mother’s percentage.
Florida statutes provide a chart of child support amounts. Florida has determined what it take to raise one child, two children, etc., and child support is based on the family’s standard of living, which is based on the total net household income. To find the support amount, run your finger down the column for two children to the amount across from the amount closest to the combined net incomes of the parents. This is the amount that is entered into the guidelines; and it is the amount that the state has determined will sustain two children at the level of income the parents provide.
The number from chart is multiplied by each parent’s percentage to obtain the base child support due. For example, if the parents’ net incomes add up to $4,300 per month, the state will take $1,369 to raise the children in the manner to which they are accustomed. If the father makes $2,000 of that income and the mother makes $2,300, the father’s percentage is 47 percent and the mother’s percentage is 53 percent.
Child care, medical and dental insurance, and uncovered medical costs are also figured into the guidelines. Each amount for the additional items is entered into the guidelines formula, then multiplied by each parent’s percentage to determine how much each parent pays. In the example, the father pays 47 percent of the daycare, insurance premiums and uncovered medical, and the mother pays 53 percent.
Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.