Child Support Guidelines
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Child Support Guidelines

Child support guidelines vary from state to state, but in general, they take into account several factors.

The support termination is part of divorce proceedings, usually, so that a child is taken care financially, such that his or her needs are met in a similar manner as when parents are married; this helps ensure that he or she does not suffer from a lower standard of living or other hardships.

Oftentimes, child-support proceedings begin before a divorce is finalized, to make sure children are taken care of.

This is at least the goal, since situations vary and children of divorce may indeed suffer financial consequences from divorce despite child support guidelines.

Expenses Child Support Covers

Child support expenses include the cost of a child's education, health insurance, day care expenses, any special needs (such as if the child has a particular medical condition), and general living expenses.

Usually, child-support is paid to the parent who has custody by the parent who does not have custody, or the noncustodial parent.


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Parents may also share joint custody, in which case the amount of child-support paid is usually going to be less. Most of the time, child-support does NOT include spousal support of the custodial parent.

How Are Child Support Payments Determined?

Child-support payments are figured out based upon what the noncustodial parent's gross income is (before taxes are deducted), minus requisite deductions.

Deductions may include Social Security, income tax, retirement contributions, health insurance premiums for the parent who does not have custody, union dues, and possibly, any child-support being paid for other children from previous relationships.

Debt repayment is not usually deducted from gross income to determine the amount of child-support, which means that child-support payments are based upon full income minus the deductions listed.

Of course, there are cases when the noncustodial parent has income fluctuations, in which case the court will decide the level of income that should be used to determine what the child-support amount should be.

Child support is not based on actual income; rather, it's based upon what the parent can actually earn.

This helps ensure that the parent paying does not put his or her own wants, such as leisure, pursuit of higher education, or a more pleasurable job, ahead of the child's need for financial support.

However, parents paying child support may request modifications to the amount of support if they suffer economic hardship, become ill, or otherwise have lost some of their ability to earn money.

How Long Does Child Support Last?

Once children become adults (usually, the age of 18), child-support stops. There are exceptions to this, such as if the child suffers from a disability and will need continued financial support.

It can also stop before the age of 18 if the child becomes financially independent, or gets married, joins the Army, etc.

Child support guidelines dictate that support automatically ends if the noncustodial parent or the child dies, if the noncustodial parent gets custody of the child, or if the child is adopted.


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