Every state is different. Depending on where you live there are different regulations for child support. How do you know where to start when trying to calculate child support? Regardless of which state you live in, there are some general guidelines that you can follow to get you started. Figuring out your income and expenses is the first step in order to correctly calculate any child support. Understanding what counts as income is important. Its time to lay out a budget! And time to figure out how to calculate child support.
Gross income includes:
- wages, salaries, tips, capital gains, commissions, bonuses
- worker’s compensation
- unemployment insurance
- social security disability income
- voluntary contributions to retirement
- military or veterans benefits
Gross income does NOT include:
- child support
- public assistance such as SSI or food stamps
The court will also look at a person’s ability to earn and what income is actually available. If there are multiple families that a parent supports, any earlier obligations are deducted from available income.
Once you know your true income and expenses, then you can get a rough calculation. There are many child support calculators that can help you estimate your monthly payments. Remember, these are only an estimate. You should talk specifically to your lawyer and get a final order from the court regarding your payments.
- DadsDivorce – gives a nice interactive map to choose your state
- California – child support calculator specific to CA
- All Law – links to each state
If things change with income, expenses, or child’s needs, these all need to be disclosed to the other parent and sometimes to the court. If the parents can agree on a change in support, then great! However if not, then you can request a hearing to discuss the changes that are necessitating a change. Some examples that might support a modification are:
- a child’s medical emergency
- the payer’s temporary inability to pay
- income change from remarriage
- job change
- cost of living increase
- disability of either parent
- a change in the needs of the child
Hopefully each parent can remember the ultimate goal of caring for the needs of their child and keep that the focus.