Child support is determined by considering the relative incomes of the parents. The court takes the sum of both parents’ incomes to determine what the total amount that the parties would spend to raise the children. Adjustments are then made for costs of insurance, childcare, extraordinary expenses, child support of other children and spousal maintenance paid and/or received. Adjustments are also made for the amount of parenting time awarded to the paying parent. Unlike spousal maintenance, child support is statutory. If the parties agree, however, and it is in the best interests of the children, the parties can agree to deviate from the guideline child support and may agree to a higher or lower amount.
Child support may be modified when continuing and substantial changes occur that result in a change in support of more than 15%. One change that people often think will cause a reduction in support is when one of the children is no longer a child. This is often wrong. If it has been a while since support was calculated, both parents’ incomes are often higher, which results in a higher total support obligation. It is not uncommon for support to be higher or the same after one child emancipates. Contact us to determine if a modification is beneficial in your case.
Current child support may terminate when the youngest child turns eighteen years of age. If the child is still in high school, however, child support will continue until the child graduates or turns nineteen, whichever comes first. There may be certain circumstances when current support can continue after that time however. Keep in mind that child support DOES NOT automatically terminate. In many cases, there are arrears that must be paid off after the kids have emancipated. Also, child support may continue after emancipation in some uncommon circumstances. Because of these, the court will not terminate the support obligation unless a Petition to Terminate Child Support is filed.