When parents divorce, they should be aware of their child support rights. Child support payments help custodial parents maintain a certain quality of life for their children. Parents use this money to purchase food, clothing, school supplies, medical care, and other items to help their children live happy, healthy lives. Parents going through the divorce process often wonder how much child support they will receive.
The Federal Child Support Enforcement Act includes guidelines for child support formulas in each state. The amount of support ordered in one state may be very different from that ordered in another. A lawyer for child support cases can explain the formula applicable to the state and will help a client ensure that he or she is getting the correct child support entitlement based on the situation.
A family court judge considers several things when determining the amount of child support. Parental custody and the ability of a parent to pay child support are major factors. If one parent has sole custody, child support is typically paid only by the other parent. In joint custody cases, child support is based on the earnings of each parent and the percentage of time the parent cares for the child.
The standard of living experienced by the child prior to divorce and custodial parent needs and income are also considered. However, the court recognizes that it may not be possible to maintain the same standard of living. The needs of the child also weigh heavily and include daycare, education, special requirements, and dental, vision, and medical insurance.
Each parent must complete a financial statement detailing expenses and income and submit it to the family court. This will help the court estimate monthly child support obligations using a state-specific child support calculator. The court will subtract mandatory deductions like income taxes from gross income and may add cost of living increases. If one or both parents disagree with the final support decision or experience a change in financial situation, the parents may go back to court with a request to raise or lower child support.
Since child support rights vary from state to state, divorcing parents should consult with a lawyer for child support. This legal professional will help determine the most suitable solution for the entire family. The ideal result is an affordable amount of support that allows the child to live comfortably in the care of the custodial parent. Contacting a child support attorney immediately for an evaluation is the best thing you can do.