Calculating The Amount of Support 8

About: Child Support

Weighing The Variables That Matter

The actual method and percentages for calculating the appropriate amount of child support varies from state to state, but all states will rely on a similar set of variables to come up with the amount. Both parents are typically asked to submit a financial statement to the court and the court then considers the financial picture of both parents – the needs of the custodial parent and the ability of the non-custodial parent to pay.

The court also looks at the needs of the child – age, mental and physical abilities, etc. – as well as how the children lived prior to the divorce . This is not to say that the court’s will force the paying parent to support a lifestyle that is no longer financially feasible – just that maintaining a similar lifestyle, if possible, plays a part in deciding upon the amount of support.

Child support is typically a fixed amount and payable on a monthly basis however, many courts do include a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that will automatically increase the payments by a small percentage on an annual basis to allow for ordinary inflation. Most states base child support orders on a set of state-approved Child Support Guidelines.

To determine these guidelines, generally a committee has undertaken a great deal of research and consideration to establish the amount of money it costs to raise a child in that particular state with various levels of income. The variables discussed above are usually a part of the calculation with necessary additions and/or credits made to the base level of support to account for daycare costs, health care costs and other similar expenses.


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