In the US, the law recognizes a basic standard for child support. Legal parents are obligated to pay child support until the child reaches a certain age or graduates from school. The guideline amount is a minimum and may not be sufficient for certain children. Additional support may be required to cover special needs or interests of a child. Parents can request additional child support if necessary. If they are separated or have joint custody, the paying parent will have to pay for extra child support.
The standard method for calculating child support has changed significantly over the years, but some still use outdated and inaccurate methods. Those in states that do not take into account the greater number of women in the labor force have child support obligations that are significantly higher than in other states. In Mississippi, for example, the mother pays only 20 percent of her income up to $126,000, while in Texas, the father pays up to twelve thousand dollars more than the mother.
In order to determine how much child support should be paid, trial courts will consider several factors. One of the most important factors is the income level of both parents. In many cases, both parents’ income levels will be considered, but the noncustodial parent’s income is also considered. The court will consider both parents’ income levels and make findings based on net monthly income for the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent. Some states require the parent to pay a certain percentage of their annual salary or bonuses, while others may use a different method.
In income share states, child support is calculated using the net income of both parents, the number of minor children, and the number of children. If the noncustodial parent earns $2,500 per month, they will owe six hundred dollars a month in child support. This is equivalent to six hundred fifty dollars a month for a child in a two-parent household. A single parent would pay six hundred dollars a month.
Income and expenses are other important factors in determining child support. While salary and expenses are a key component, courts also take into account the amount of visitation a noncustodial parent receives. If the noncustodial parent can demonstrate that they have more income than the guideline, a judge may order a higher payment. The noncustodial parent can also use the money for basic entertainment or education expenses.
The federal government has also mandated that states establish child support guidelines. Child support guidelines are reviewed every four years and a panel must convene in order to establish the guidelines. The guidelines are based on percentages of income and expenses, and each state follows a slightly different approach. For example, if a parent loses their job, they may be required to pay half of their child support, despite the fact that the spouse is not working.