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Money Matters: How Much Is Owed For Child Support

If you and your spouse are in the midst of a divorce, the subject of child support will need visiting if you are the parents of a minor child. When it comes to contentious issues, those that pluck at our heartstrings and are connected to our wallets are often the most hotly contested, and child support checks off both of those boxes. The courts have very specific guidelines for addressing this issue.

Federal Rules Apply

While the actual amounts are based on the parent's incomes, child support provisions are the federal government's bailiwick. Family court judges are given some leeway, but these provisions ensure some amount of predictability in ordered amounts. In general, the parent making the most money also pays the child support.

Support Calculators

You can get a broad idea of how much child support will be owed by utilizing online calculators, but use caution. There are mitigating factors that could change the estimated amounts. As you will notice, this calculator is state-specific, so be sure and use the correct state of residency.

What To Know About Child Support Payments

  • Some states use gross income (the total amount before taxes or other deductions are taken out) and some use net (the after-deduction amount).
  • Previous child support obligations (from a previous relationship) could alter the amount owed, and in some cases the amount of that previous obligation could reduce the income used in the calculation. This could result in a lower obligation for the present case. It should be noted the amount must be the court-ordered amount, not a voluntary child support payment.
  • The parent responsible for paying day care or other child care expenses can usually deduct that amount from their incomes for calculation purposes.

Health Care Expenses

Since the courts take the best interest of the child into account at all times, the issue of who pays for the child's health care is of a primary concern and in most instances has its own special provision in the divorce agreement. The parent who is ordered to provide health care insurance for the child is named, and that parent may deduct the expenses for premiums, co-pays, and deductibles from their income for child support calculation purposes.

There are many facets that go into the calculations, so be sure to speak with a divorce attorney like Cotto Law Firm P.C. for more information and to get a better idea of how much you, or your spouse, will owe in child support.