Calculating Child Support
The following variables determine the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent pays:
- Gross Wages. This amount may be significantly higher than the amount deposited into you bank account every Friday. For example, if you earn $10.00/hour and work 40 hours per week, your gross wages are $400.00.The court will generally assume each parent is capable of earning at least $290.00 per week, even if the parent is unemployed or working less than full-time.
- Older Children. If a parent has any minor children older than the children subject to the support order, the parent will receive a credit. This credit is larger than the credit for younger children.
- Younger Children. If a parent has any minor children younger than the children subject to the support order, the parent will receive a credit. This credit is smaller than the credit for older children.
- Parenting Time. The non-custodial parent receives a credit for exercising parenting time. The amount of the credit is determined by the amount of parenting time. The standard credit is based on 96-100 “overnights” per year.
- Health Insurance. The non-custodial parent’s child support obligation may increase or decrease depending on which parent is providing health insurance coverage for the minor child.
- Daycare. The non-custodial parent’s child support obligation will increase if the custodial parent pays for daycare.
Modifying Child Support
Child support can generally be modified one time per year. In rare circumstances, the court might modify child support more frequently.
Common reasons to modify child support include:
- An increase/decrease to a parent’s income.
- The custodial parent is no longer paying for daycare.
- One of the children turns 19.
- One of the parents has another child.
The general rule is that child support can only be modified if a parent files a petition to modify support. For example, if the custodial parent stops paying for daycare in August, but the non-custodial does not ask the court to modify child support until January, the court will not go back and give the non-custodial parent credit for the “extra” support paid from August to January.
Terminating Child Support
A parent will generally pay child support until a child turns nineteen (19).
Common exceptions include:
- A child suffering from a disability that prevents the child from supporting himself/herself.
- A child that is emancipated before the child turns nineteen (19).
- A child that is attending college, if the court enters an order for college expenses.
If the non-custodial parent pays child support for multiple children, the parent must file a petition to modify child support each time a child turns nineteen (19) years old.