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How Do Courts Decide The Amount Of Child Support?

We understand divorces are a difficult time for everyone involved not only emotionally but also mentally and financially. Divorce is a troubling time for the two people filing but when children are involved, there is a level of delicacy which is necessary to make the process easier for them. When two people decide to split no matter how long their relationship lasted, the question of finances is a big deal and how they would split custody of their children and child support according to an family lawyer with our friends at the Brandy Austin Law Firm.

In order to better understand how courts decide matters involving child support, it is first important to know what child support is. Child support is viewed as the amount of money one parent is required to pay to the other to help pay for the necessities and needs of their child. This money can be used to pay for things such as food, clothes, supplies, schooling, daycare, sport/activities, and even housing. When looking at some state laws, courts expect parents to pay for their children’s needs without the necessities of an official order in place. But if an order for child support payments is in place then the obligation to start paying the child support begins when the judge has signed the document. 

Understanding How Child Support Works:

Establishing the basis of who pays for child support and who receives it can be a tricky matter, but don’t worry we have got you covered and will break down the process for you! Starting with: Who is expected to pay? Under some state laws, the party who is responsible for paying child support is determined by who is the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent is the parent who does not hold primary custody of the child/children. The custodial parent, the one who holds custody of the child/children, is the one who reserves the rights to receive the child support payments. 

The next step is to figure out how much you can receive in child support payments. Following some state laws, the courts will determine how much the child support payment will be by how many children there are, who are under the age of 18, and the net resources the noncustodial parents have. Now the question you might be asking is: what is considered “net resources”, don’t worry, we have got you covered!

 Net resources is a term used to describe the different sources of income. For example, income from a job whether as working for a company and/or self-employment, investments, benefits i.e., retirement, VA disability, unemployment, and worker’s compensation. 

There are cases where the income of the party who is responsible for making the child support payments is not available. In these cases, the courts can determine the amount of child support by looking at the area the party lives and the job opportunities present to them to calculate an estimate of their income. Things the court looks at when attempting to create an estimate of the income includes: their age, area of living, education, work and criminal history, and their health. 

Continuing onto the next step in understanding how courts decide the amount of child support is to understand how much of the party’s income would be given for child support. Some courts have determined the following percentages based off of how many children are under the age of 18:

  1. If there is ONE child = 20% of net resources
  2. For TWO children = 25% of net resources
  3. THREE children = 30% of net resources
  4. FOUR children = 35% of net resources
  5. FIVE children = 40% of net resources
  6. SIX OR MORE children = at least 40% of net resources

We understand going through the proceedings of getting child support can be troublesome and an emotional rollercoaster but it is extremely important to learn the fundamentals of the determination of child support. Understanding how child support works is not only good to educate yourself but to also know your rights and what your children are entitled to.