Understanding Child Support


Recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that there are more than 2.2 million marriages in America. That’s roughly 6.9 marriages per 1,000 population, which is slightly higher than the 6.5 recorded in 2018. Previous reports have divorce rates in the USA at about 50%, but it is said that there has been a decline since the 1980s. Currently, the divorce rate is at 2.9 per 1,000 population, which would yield roughly a 42% rate.

Children come with most marriages and the responsibility that goes with it. Those responsibilities do not disappear when divorce happens. Whether the divorce ends in shared custody or single parent custody, care for the child or children needs to continue. If it’s single-parent custody, then that parent needs to care and provide for the child.

The other parent, however, is not liberated from assisting in meeting the expenses to care for the child. He (or she) must contribute toward those expenses. This contribution is called child support. If you are the “other parent” in this scenario and whether you are from Denver, Colorado, or San Francisco, California, consult experienced family lawyers to help you understand what child support means for you.

Child Support in America

The parent who does not have custody or the non-custodial parent is called the “obligor,” and they are required by law to pay the “obligee” or the parent receiving the money financial contribution to cover the expenses of the children. The law for child support depends mostly on each state.

How Much Will Child Support Cost?

child support

As mentioned, the law varies for each state and there are different models for making the calculation. Here are some of the ways to determine the amount of child support.

  1. Income Shares model uses a computation based on the combined income and the percentage share of each parent in that combined income. A chart is used to determine the cost of raising a child. If the chart and the court decide, for example, that a child needs $1,000 per month and the parent with custody earns $1,500 per month and the other $2,000, then the non-custodial parent would have to contribute $571.42 per month.
  2. The percentage of Income model is decided by taking a portion of the non-custodial parent’s income. The portion used might be fixed or fluctuating if the income also changes. In a flat 25% situation, wherein the non-custodial parent is earning $2,000, the child support must be $500 per month.
  3. Court Discretion model depends on various factors like standard of living, the child’s needs, or the ability or lack thereof of the non-custodial parent to contribute support.

Again, the calculations vary by each state. California, for example, has an “hourly custody calculation” model.

Other Considerations

If you suddenly have more time to spend with your child, the court may look at the direct expenses for the child when he/she is with you. The amount can be taken into consideration in reducing your child support. Unemployment is also a consideration in making adjustments to the child support amount. Remember, however, that making such changes require legal action.

At least one thing is clear: It is advantageous for you to spend as much time as you can with your child so that your child support can be reduced. It is, of course, dependent on the kind of relationship you intend to build with your child and whether there is less or more animosity with your former partner. Either way, consulting legal experts will work best for you.

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