Child support is calculated by a formula that takes into account the gross income of the parties, the numbers of children that will be included in a child support worksheet, and the number of “overnights” that a parents have with the children. In this video family law attorney Gordon Shayne describes the process in detail.
Child support is calculated based upon a formula, and part of the law says that the court must include the gross incomes of the parties, the number of children that the parties have that are going to be included in a child support worksheet, and most of the time the most important part of a child support worksheet is the number of overnights that the parents have with the children. So there’s a lot of variables in calculating child support.
It’s always a good idea to check with an attorney whenever you have a child support problem, because an attorney can tell you whether or not you’re paying too much or the right amount or not enough, and there’s a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration, such as health insurance, extraordinary medical, extracurricular activities, and those kinds of issues that need to be calculated when determining child support.
A thing to keep in mind when you’re trying to factor child support and determine what is appropriate is that over the course of time child support may change. Parties have the right to seek modification or review of child support when there is a substantial change in economic circumstances that results in a 10% change of the child support amount. So an example of that would be when parties divorced five years ago and they have two children. Dad gave primary custody to Mom, and Dad was making $4,000 a month, but five years later he was making $8,000 a month. That’s the kind of circumstance that would allow Mom to go back into court and seek a change of the child support.
The same process could be used if Dad retired and his income had dropped from $4,000 because now he’s on a fixed retirement. Instead of making $4,000 a month, he’s making $2,100 a month. Both an increase and decrease of 10% or more in the child support will result in the court appropriately adjusting child support.