9.7Susan M. Hais

Child support hearings can be a confusing process to get through for those who have never had to deal with the process. One of the biggest questions that might be raised is what exactly is calculated in a child support case? Does it go by income, and if so whose income? Is the cost of health insurance and daycare considered in the formula during a child support hearing? What if the non-custodial parent isn’t working, can a calculation even be formulated with no income? Let’s delve into what exactly is calculated in a child support case.

Although the actual formula may change from state to state, most jurisdictions have a formula that is followed to determine what percentage of the cost to raise a child that each parent is responsible for. Ultimately the judge in the case has the discretion to order amounts they deem appropriate, most follow the formula set by the state to determine child support.

Exceptions to the basic formula that a state may have in place for child support do exist. Some examples of such exceptions may be the cost of medical expenses, private school tuition or extracurricular activity fees. These exceptions are usually at the discretion of the courts but many will find that it is acceptable to enter these expenses into the equation for consideration.

Income is another factor in determining child support, and both parents income is considered. Based on each income combined many states determine which percent of that combined income is obligated towards the care of the minor child or children. If either parent is not working the court may consider past income which shows earning potential or they may assign a basic wage amount that a healthy adult would easily make. Not every state uses the same calculations as far as income, or lack of income but generally, both parents finances are considered in determining the amount.

If you are dealing with a child support case and would like more information about what to expect in court, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation!