Skip to main content

Child support and imputed income

Courts may decide child support based on imputed income, which is the income a parent had before he or she intentionally reduced it to avoid paying support.

Albertina Webb | Mar 23, 2020


Who will be impacted by Covid-19 The workforce was equally inflicted by the extreme, necessary measures to flatten the curve of the spread of the coronavirus. The need to socially distance and the qualification of what is an “essential business” will affect how New Jersey does business for the foreseeable future. The lucky were forced from their workplaces to work from home. The unlucky, however, either had to close their small businesses or lose their jobs. What to do if income has disappeared or is suspended because of Covid-19 The answer: those with support provisions in their Marital Settlement Agreement/Final Judgment of Divorce. The coronavirus will drastically impact those either paying or receiving alimony or child support if the payor of the support suffers a substantial loss in income. Those seeking or defending what are called “changed circumstances” motions for loss of income must understand the nuances involved with such applications. These applications are governed by N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23. A downward modification of support application cannot be filed until the payor has been unemployed, or has not been able to return to or attain employment at prior income levels, or both, for a period of 90 days. Any application must be accompanied by the Marital Settlement Agreement/Final Judgment of Divorce, the Case Information Statement filed at the time of the divorce, and a current Case Information Statement.

J. Russell Lloyd | Sep 1, 2015

Guide to Divorce in Kentucky

Custody A Court of Equity is a Court which is governed by a statutory scheme. In our statutes, the Court must first address the issue of custody. This is true whether the parties to the action are married and have children together or are unmarried and have children they are unable to continue to raise together. Although the Court is charged with the task of dissolving your relationship for all other reasons, it must first consider that you and opposing party can continue to raise your child or children together. The concept the Court must first consider is joint custody. Joint custody means that the parties will continue to cooperate to make all care and control decisions (i.e. health, education, religious upbringing, welfare, and all other important and unimportant decisions you make for your children). If the Court does not believe that joint custody will work, the Court may then consider a joint custody arrangement in which one party is the primary decision maker. Typically, a Court will call the primary decision maker a residential or primary custodian. The residential or primary custodian may unilaterally decide care and control issues if, after first consulting with the other party, no joint decision may be reached. Finally, if the Court does not believe that any joint custody arrangement will work, the Court will assign one party sole custody of the children. Sole custody means that one party makes all of the decisions without consultation regarding the care and control of the child or children. The Court is charged with the responsibility of making custody decisions in the best interest of the children. In doing so, the Court is directed to several factors. The Court may consider the wishes of the children; the wishes of each parent; the mental, physical, emotional, and moral wellbeing of each of the parties; the adjustment of the children to each parties' home, school, community, and extended family; the relationship that each child has with each parent; the relationship that each child has with the extended members of the parties' families; and the existence of domestic violence. Usually, both parties to a divorce or custody suit wish to have some custodial say in the life of their child. Also, the Court is not in the practice of putting children on the spot by requiring them to choose one parent or the other. Therefore, many custody cases boil down to a question of who has historically been the party to make care and control decisions for the children. Often, the Court will appoint a forensic psychologist to render an opinion in a high conflict custody case. The parties are also free to retain their own experts. Sometimes, but rarely, the Court will appoint an attorney for the children, known as a Guardian Ad Litem. A forensic psychologist will most usually render an opinion after a two part review process. The first part of the review process tends to be an objective review. The psychologist will give each party, and sometimes the children, a battery of psychological tests. Those tests are then scored by the psychologist or a qualified third party to give the psychologist some insight into the personalities in the case. The psychologist will then conduct a subjective review in which he or she interviews each of the parties, each of the parties with the children, and, often times, the parties together with the children. If a child is of an advanced age, the psychologist may wish to interview the child. Finally, the psychologist will conduct collateral source interviews with any individual who has significant information regarding the children in question (such as therapists, teachers, step-parents, and daycare or other child care providers). Parenting Schedule The Court must next set a parenting schedule for the parties. The Court has two goals in mind when establishing a schedule. The Court must consider the best interest of the children and attempt to maximize each parent's time with the children. With regard to holidays and vacation time, the Court most usually awards an equal amount of holiday and vacation time to each party on an alternating basis. Remember to speak up if you have a particular holiday tradition between your extended families which you have regularly observed. Modification of Custody and Parenting Schedules The Court retains the power to modify and enforce custody and parenting schedules. This power is retained until each child is emancipated, whether by reaching the age of eighteen or otherwise. The authority of the Court may extend past normal emancipation if the child has special needs. Within the first two years of entry of any custody Judgment, the Court may not make changes unless the environment in which the child lives poses an immediate threat to the physical, emotional, mental, or moral wellbeing of the child. The Court usually refrains from making changes during this period of time. However, after two years have past, the Court may address the issue of custody according to the best interest of the child. When seeking a modification beyond the two year deadline, the party seeking modification must generally point to some change in circumstances which occurred after entry of the last custody decree. Once that hurdle has been cleared, the Court returns to the best interest consideration described above. Regardless of the custody determination made by the Court, each parent has an obligation to keep the other as completely informed as possible about the significant events in the life of their child. If the Court becomes aware that either party is making an effort to restrict information to the other parent or diminish the other parent in the eyes of the children, the Court may intervene and take some or all of the custodial authority away from one parent. Over the course of a child's life, the child's needs will change. The same is true of the parents. Therefore, the Court remains available to adjust parenting schedules (or visitation) while the child remains a minor. However, the Court may not restrict a parent's visitation without making a finding that the parent poses an immediate threat to the physical, emotional, mental, or moral wellbeing of the child in question. The most difficult custody modifications often involve a relocation of one parent. When the parties share true joint custody, the Court has the authority to decide whether a child will relocate with a parent or not. That decision is made according to the best interest of the child. The parent relocating must inform the other as soon as is practicable about the possibility of relocation. If no joint decision can be made, the Court can and will intervene. When one party is a primary residential custodian in a joint custody relationship and must relocate, the obligation on that parent is to inform the other that a relocation is impending as soon as is practicable. However, the parent does not need of the permission of the Court to relocate if an objection is raised. The aggrieved parent may go to the Court and ask that relocation be prohibited. At that point, the Court has the authority to decide where your child will reside. Finally, a sole custodian must inform the other parent when a relocation is pending, but the Court may not have any authority to stop the relocation without changing custody. Child Support In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, most child support cases are decided by an application of the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines. If you receive a W-2 at the end of each tax year, the Court will take your gross earnings, combine them with those of your spouse, and direct that child support be paid according to the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines. However, not all cases are addressed to easily by the Child Support Guidelines. If you are self-employed, you are entitled to deduct from your gross earnings reasonable and necessary business expenses. Although the tax code has some influence on the definition of reasonable and necessary business expenses, it is not dispositive. The Court tries to limit those deductible expenses to those which have only a business impact. If your spouse is not employed on weeks part-time only, the Court may impute income to him or her. If your children are at a sufficiently advanced age and each of you is free to work, the trial court may consider the ability of an unemployed parent to work and treat that parent, for the purpose of calculating child support, as though they were earning at their highest level. If the combined earnings of you and your spouse exceed $15,000.00 per month, the guidelines do not apply. The trial court may resolve the issue of child support any number of ways. The Court may consider the actual financial needs spent on the children. The Court may devise the same formula for calculating child support. Essentially, the Court is granted the authority to make any reasonable decision which meets the support needs of your children. If you have children from a prior relationship, you are entitled to deduct support actually expended on the children from your gross income. Additionally, the Court will divide between the parties, in proportion to their income, the cost of health insurance attributable to the children and work education related day care. Finally, the Kentucky Child Support Guidelines apply where the paying party has one third or less of the children's time. If the parties have a more equal parenting schedule or have split custody of children they have together, the guidelines may no longer apply. Modification of Child Support The Court has the authority to modify child support. However, the party seeking modification must demonstrate a substantial continuing change in circumstances. Specifically, the Court will change child support if application of the guidelines results in the fifteen percent increase or decrease in the amount of child support due. Property Often the most difficult issue in any divorce after all issues regarding children have been resolved is the assignment of property between the divorcing parties. Again, the Court is directed to accomplish this task according to statute. The Court must first restore to each party their non marital property. While the Court presumes that all property is marital, the Court will restore your non marital property if you can demonstrate that you acquired it prior to the date of marriage or by gift, bequest, devise, or descent. Also, the Court will restore property to you acquired after the date of marriage if you can demonstrate it was acquired in exchange for property owned prior to the date of marriage or acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent. Restoration of non marital property is most often accomplished through documentation. For instance, if you own a home prior to the date of marriage, a deed demonstrates the date you acquired the property precedes your marriage. There are two general areas of complication in a restoration of non marital property case. First, is the situation in which a currently existing piece of property has both marital and non marital components. Usually, this is a marital residence in which one party has expended non marital funds. For instance, if you owned a residence prior to the date of marriage which you sold to use the proceeds to purchase the marital residence, a portion of the marital residence has become your non marital property. In these cases, the Court will attempt to apportion the equity between the parties in connection with its character. This usually involves application of a mathematical model to the equity remaining in the property. Second, when a non marital asset appreciates in value during the marriage because of marital efforts, the Court must consider how to award the marriage for the increase in value. The usual example is when a party brings into the marriage a pre-existing business or profession which appreciates in value due to there joint efforts, the Court must consider what portion of the increase is attributable to the marital efforts and then devise a method through which the contributing spouse is rewarded. Marital Property The obligation of the Court is to equitably divide marital property. Equitably does not mean equal. However, in practice, an equal division is what the Court will do. The Court will try to divide your property in a manner which poses the least threat to its value. Additionally, the Court will divide property in such a way that it imposes as little cost on you as possible. Basically, the practice in which the Court engages is to create a balance sheet in which each property is awarded to a particular party. If there is an equitable difference between the value and property assigned to the parties, the Court will try to make up for that disparity by awarding the disenfranchised party cash or other property in kind. Indebtedness While the Court is under an obligation to equitably divide marital property, no such obligation exists for debt. The Court will assign debt according to its marital purpose. Most debt is secured by a piece of property. The party retaining the property retains responsibility for the debt. However, on unsecured indebtedness (usually credit card debts) the Court will divide the debt between the parties in conjunction with their ability to pay and the marital nature of the debt. In other words, clothes you buy for the children are usually apportioned equally between the parties, but the therapeutic golf trip is not. Spousal Support Maintenance or Alimony The Court has the authority to award you spousal support (also known as maintenance and formerly known as alimony) if you are not able to meet your own monthly expenses. Once the Court determines that it can award spousal support, it must consider a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the lifestyle you enjoyed during the marriage, the health of the parties, the age of the parties, and the ability of the paying party to meet his or her own monthly needs while paying maintenance. While most issues in a divorce do not have an impact on taxes, maintenance is usually deductible to the party paying it and taxable to the party receiving it. Therefore, the Court has a variety of options when structuring maintenance. If maintenance is a likely issue in your case, you will most certainly want legal and, most probably, financial help. Modification of Spousal Support The Court may modify maintenance. Typically, maintenance terminates upon the death or cohabitation of the party receiving maintenance. Most maintenance is known as term of years maintenance. That maintenance is designed to financially rehabilitate you after the end of their marriage. Term of years maintenance may not be modifiable before the expiration of the term. However, life time, or open ended spousal support, may be modifiable upon any substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Modification of maintenance is currently one of the more hotly contested issues. The status of the law has changed several times in the past five years. If you are confronted with a change to maintenance, you will want to consult an attorney. Fees and Costs Unlike most other areas of law, the Court may direct you to pay the fees and costs incurred by your former spouse. The Court is authorized to direct a contribution if you lack the financial resources of your spouse. The Court may grade the contribution according to the tactics used by you or your spouse. In other words, if you waste the Court's time, you may be required to pay your former spouse there fees and costs. You may expect to incur costs to a variety of experts. A custodial expert will charge between $1,000 and $3,000 per party to conduct a custodial evaluation. A business appraiser may charge $1,000 to $10,000 or more to appraise your family or small business. A real estate appraiser may charge $300 to $500 per property or period of time for which an appraisal is done. Finally, a personal property appraiser will charge according to the amount property reviewed and the length of time to do so. Normally, these expenses are divided at the outset of the case with the Court reserving the right to apportion the expenses at the end of the case. Agreements All of the above information assumes that you and your spouse or other parents have been unable to reach an agreement. However, the Court will encourage you to try to reach and agreement. Usually such an agreement is reached at mediation. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process through which the parties and their attorney meet with a qualified and trained mediator appointed by the Court or agreed upon by the parties. The Court will support any agreement which it believes to be the product of fair bargaining and which is not manifestly unfair and unjust. Often times, parties enter into the marriage only upon negotiation of an agreement. These agreements are known as pre or antenuptial contracts. The Court will enforce these contracts so long as they are free from fraud or duress and are not manifestly unfair and unjust at the time of signing and enforcement. If you wish to have a antenuptial contract drafted, you will most certainly most want to contact an attorney. If you have an antenuptial agreement, you will most certainly want to contact an attorney to review its possible impact on your divorce.

Santo V. Artusa Jr. | Jun 2, 2015

Jersey City, Hudson County Child Support and Parenting Time Attorney

Hudson County Child Support- How is it Calculated? Child support in New Jersey is calculated by using the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. So unlike, New York, where it is a simple percentage of income. in New Jersey, many factors are used to determine the amount for support. The first two factors are: the incomes of both parents. The second factor is: how many overnights does the non-custodial parent have? The more overnights a parent has, the less the child support will be in most cases. Under certain circumstances, if a party has a certain amount of overnights per week (usually 2), they may qualify for the shared custody worksheet. Hudson County Child Support Calculations Continued The next part of the calculation is whether there is work-related child care costs. After that, who is paying for health care and if so, how much is it just for the child? Once everything is inputted, the child support program will calculate a net child support number to be paid weekly for 4.3 weeks per month. Hudson County Parenting Time Schedules- What is the norm? Every case is different. Some judges say, "It should be a "traditional parenting schedule" of every other weekend." There is no true definition of a traditional parenting plan. Many factors are involved when addressing parenting time. If both parents agree, any parenting schedule is possible The courts always want the parents to determine the right plan for themselves and more importantly, their children. If you can come up with a plan whether with the lawyers or mediators, that is the best bet many times!

Jennifer Judy Donnelly | Jun 24, 2014


Overview of NJ Child Support The right to be supported financially belongs to the child. Neither parent can waive or agree to give up child support. New Jersey Law ensures that all children of this state are financially supported by both parents whether or not the child lives with the parents. The parent who the child lives with is called the custodial parent and the other parent is the non-custodial parent. The Court determines the amount of child support by using a formula called the "Child Support Guidelines." The goal of the guidelines is to avoid children suffering the economic consequences of their parent's separation. The Court may deviate from that formula only if there is GOOD CAUSE. The Judge in your case has the discretion to determine if there is good cause. If the Court has determined there is Good Cause to not use the child support guidelines, the judge must state those reasons and the amount the award would have been under the guidelines. What numbers are used to determine child support? I. Each Parent's Income An important part of the equation is determining the income of each parent. As an advocate for your child, it is essential you understand what is considered income under the law. Income includes: a. compensation for services, including wages, fees, tips, and commissions; b. the operation of a business minus ordinary and necessary operating expenses (see IRS Schedule C); c. gains derived from dealings in property; d. interest and dividends(see IRS Schedule B); e. rents (minus ordinary and necessary expenses - see IRS Schedule E); f. bonuses and royalties; g. alimony and separate maintenance payments received from the current or past relationships; h. annuities or an interest in a trust; i. life insurance and endowment contracts; j. distributions from government and private retirement plans including Social Security, Veteran's Administration, Railroad Retirement Board, deferred compensation, Keoghs and IRA's; k. personal injury awards or other civil lawsuits; l. interest in a decedent's estate or a trust; m. disability grants or payments (including Social Security disability); n. profit sharing plans; o. worker's compensation; p. unemployment compensation benefits; q. overtime, part-time and severance pay; r. net gambling winnings; s. the sale of investments (net capital gain) or earnings from investments; t. income tax credits or rebates (excluding the federal and state Earned Income Credit and the N.J. homestead rebate); u. unreported cash payments(if identifiable); v. the value of in-kind benefits; and w. imputed income NOTE: The only time the child's government benefits are factored into the child support award is when the child is receiving the benefits based on either parent's earning record, disability or retirement. A child's supplemental security income is not included in the calculation of support. II. Deductions from Income There are deductions the Court will make from your income before the child support is calculated if applicable: a. Union Dues b. Mandatory retirement contributions c. Support paid for other children III. Extra Expenses a. Qualified Child Care Expenses Child Care expense for a child under 15 years of age or who is physically or mentally handicapped must be added to the child support calculations. This expense is not automatically included in the support figure unless the parties specifically request it. *The childcare must be necessary for employment or a job search. *The childcare provided should be from a licensed provider. *The amount included is not the full amount paid. *Only the net cost of childcare (after the federal tax credit is deducted) is added to the child support award. b. Insurance & Medical Expenses 1. Health Insurance A parent's contributions to a health insurance policy for the child must be added to the basic child support amount. *If the parent does not have proof of the cost the Court will calculate the amount as follows: Step 1: The number of persons covered by the policy should be divided by the total premium cost. Step 2: The result is multiplied by the number of children for whom support is being determined. 2. Unreimbursed Medical Expenses The custodial parent is responsible for the first $250 of unreimbursed medical expenses per child. If there are costs that are predictable and recurring above the $250, those costs should be included in the child support calculation. 3. Unpredictable, Non-Recurring Health Care Costs Health-care expenses for a child that exceed $250 per child per year that are not predictable and recurring should be shared between the parents in proportion to their relative incomes and should be paid as incurred. Where to apply? Either parent (custodial or non-custodial) can apply to establish child support. You must file in the County where the child resides. When making the application, you may want to complete the Case Information Statement, although it is not required in non-dissolution matters. C. What to bring to the hearing? Both parents should bring your most recent copies of your tax returns and your last three pay-stubs. D. Do you need an Attorney? While the Courts have made the process very friendly to pro-se (self-represented) litigants, the process can be less stressful if you have an advocate who knows the law on your side. You should also be aware, your first appearance is likely before a Hearing Officer, not a Judge. The Hearing officer makes a recommendation and the Judge will approve it by signing the proposed order. If you disagree with Hearing officer, you can request an immediate appeal and see a Judge.

James CW Bock | Mar 14, 2014

Child Support in Wisconsin (Wis. Stat. sec. 767.511)

Wisconsin Guideline Support (DCF 150) (a/k/a "Guidelines") The court shall determine a parent's monthly income available for child support by adding together the parent's annual gross income or, if applicable, the parent's annual income modified for business expenses; the parent's annual income imputed based on earning capacity; and the parent's annual income imputed from assets, and dividing that total by 12. The percentage of the parent's monthly income available for child support or adjusted monthly income available for child support that constitutes the child support obligation shall be: 17% for one child; 25% for 2 children; 29% for 3 children; 31% for 4 children; and 34% for 5 or more children. Deviation upward or downward from "Guidelines" Upon request by a party, the court may modify the amount of child support payments determined under the "Guidelines" if, after considering other statutory factors (e.g., the financial resources of both parents; maintenance received by either party; the needs of each party in order to support himself or herself at a level equal to or greater than that established under federal law; the needs of any person, other than the child, whom either party is legally obligated to support; if the parties were married, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not ended in annulment, divorce or legal separation; the desirability that the custodian remain in the home as a full-time parent; the cost of child care if the custodian works outside the home, or the value of custodial services performed by the custodian if the custodian remains in the home; the award of substantial periods of physical placement to both parents; extraordinary travel expenses incurred in exercising the right to periods of physical placement; the physical, mental, and emotional health needs of the child, including any costs for health insurance; the child's educational needs; the tax consequences to each party; the best interests of the child; the earning capacity of each parent, based on each parent's education, training and work experience and the availability of work in or near the parent's community; and, any other factors which the court in each case determines are relevant), the court finds by the greater weight of the credible evidence that use of the percentage standard is unfair to the child or to any of the parties. If the court modifies the amount of child support payment determined by the "Guidelines," the court shall state in writing or on the record the amount of support that would be required by using the percentage standard (i.e., "Guidelines"), the amount by which the court's order deviates from that amount, its reasons for finding that use of the percentage standard is unfair to the child or the party, its reasons for the amount of the modification and the basis for the modification. How can Child Support be changed (e.g., modified) To modify child support a party may petition, motion, or obtain and serve an order to show cause noticing or serving the other party and the county child support agency. The court may provide requested relief by: 1) revise and alter a support order as to the amount and payment of child support; and/or, 2) make any judgment or order on any matter that the court might have made in the original action. What is necessary to change or modify Child Support (i.e., what is a "substantial change in circumstances")? To successfully petition or move the court to change or modify Child Support requires a "substantial change in circumstances." To change, modify or revise a judgment or order with respect to the amount of child support, any of the following constitutes a rebuttable presumption of a "substantial change in circumstances" sufficient to justify a revision of the judgment or order: 1) commencement of receipt of aid to families with dependent children or participation in Wisconsin works by either parent since the entry of the last child support order, including a revision of a child support order under this section; 2) unless the amount of child support is expressed in the judgment or order as a percentage of parental income, the expiration of 33 months after the date of the entry of the last child support order, including a revision of a child support order under this section; 3) failure of the payer to furnish a timely disclosure; and, 4) a difference between the amount of child support ordered by the court to be paid by the payer and the amount that the payer would have been required to pay based on the percentage standard (i.e., "Guidelines") if the court did not use the "Guidelines" in determining the child support payments and did not provide the information required, whichever is appropriate. In addition, any of the following may constitute a "substantial change of circumstances" sufficient to justify revision of the judgment or order: 1) unless the amount of child support is expressed in the judgment or order as a percentage of parental income, a change in the payer's income, evidenced by information received by the county child support agency or by other information, from the payer's income determined by the court in its most recent judgment or order for child support, including a revision of a child support order under this section; 2) a change in the needs of the child; 3) a change in the payer's earning capacity; and, 4) any other factor that the court determines is relevant. When can Child Support be calculated under a "Shared Placement" circumstance? The shared-placement formula may be applied when both of the following conditions are met: 1) both parents have court-ordered periods of placement of at least 25% or 92 days a year. The period of placement for each parent shall be determined by calculating the number of overnights or equivalent care ordered to be provided by the parent and dividing that number by 365. The combined periods of placement for both parents shall equal 100%; and, 2) Each parent is ordered by the court to assume the child's basic support costs in proportion to the time that the parent has placement of the child. How does the "Shared Placement" calculation differ from the Guidelines? The child support obligations for parents who meet the requirements for a "Shared Placement" arrangement may be determined as follows: 1) determine each parent's monthly income available for child support. In determining whether to impute income based on earning capacity for an unemployed parent or a parent employed less than full time the court shall consider benefits to the child of having a parent remain in the home during periods of placement and the additional variable day care costs that would be incurred if the parent worked more. If a parent has one or more previous child support obligations, determine the parent's monthly income available for child support adjusted for the previous obligations; 2) multiply each parent's monthly income available for child support by the appropriate percentage standard (e.g., "Guidelines"); 3) multiply each amount determined by 150%; 4) multiply the amount determined for each parent by the proportion of the time that the child spends with the other parent to determine each parent's child support obligation; 5) offset resulting amounts in 4) against each other. The parent with a greater child support obligation is the shared-placement payer. The shared-placement payer shall pay the lesser of the amount determined or the amount determined using the appropriate percentage standard (e.g., "Guidelines"). If the shared-placement payer is also a low-income payer, the child support obligation may be the lesser of the amount determined in this method or 4), above; and, 6) in addition to the child support obligation determined, the court shall assign responsibility for payment of the child's variable costs in proportion to each parent's share of physical placement, with due consideration to a disparity in the parents' incomes. The court shall direct the manner of payment of a variable cost order to be either between the parents or from a parent to a third-party service provider. The court shall not direct payment of variable costs to be made to the department or the department's designee, except as incorporated in the fixed sum or percentage expressed child support order. At what age can Child Support terminate The court shall order either party or both to pay for the support of any child of the parties who is less than 18 years old, or any child of the parties who is less than 19 years old if the child is pursuing an accredited course of instruction leading to the acquisition of a high school diploma or its equivalent.

David Benton Purvis | Feb 14, 2014

Child Support in Georgia - How Much is Enough?`

Why Pay Child Support? Well, for one, it's the law! Unless the parents live together or parenting time is split equally, one parent will be determined to be the "custodial" parent while the other will be the "non-custodial" parent. Just as the custodial parent must find a way to financially provide for their child, so must the non-custodial parent contribute financially to provide for the child. Beyond Meeting Basic Needs A common source of confusion can be summed up with "it only costs "x" to provide for my child's needs, but the court is making me pay more than 'x'". The policy behind child support in Georgia is to place the child in the same financial situation (or as close as possible) that they would enjoy if both parents lived together. Thus, when parents make substantial amount of income, the amount of child support will be higher than what is necessary to provide for basic needs. How is Child Support Determined Child support is determined in Georgia based on the official child support calculator. The financial picture of the parties is "taken" and inputted into the calculator. The calculator determines the amount of child support. This amount can be adjusted up or down, but the court is not bound to accept deviations either way. A good family law attorney can determine what deviations may be applicable and how best to argue to the court for those deviations to be accepted. When Can Child Support be Modified? The general rule is not within two years of the last Order, but sometimes it is a three year minimum wait. It is possible to modify within two years under certain circumstances, including an involuntary loss of income. My Ex and I Agreed on a Child Support Amount Ultimately, child support is the child's money, even though it is paid to the custodial parent. Thus, while a court may accept some deviations from the preumptive amount of child support, the court is ultimately going to decide what deviations will be allowed based on what is in the child's best interests. I Am Unemployed / I Make Less Than What I Used To Even if you are unemployed, the court will impute income for purposes of determining child support. The imputed amount may be based on minimum wage or it may be higher. If you've lost your job or have taken a job making less than when child support was first calculated, you may be eligible to have your child support obligation lowered.

Philip Eric Goldberg | Jan 31, 2014

Child Support in Colorado

When Can Child Support be Ordered? Colorado courts may order a parent to pay child support in cases involving divorce, legal separation, paternity, parental responsibilities, and independent support proceedings. Amount of Child Support When child support is ordered, the court will determine the amount of monthly support by utilizing a formula that takes into account each parent's gross monthly income (which includes monetary gifts to the parent), the number of days the child is in each parent's care during the year, child care costs for the child, the cost of health care for the child, any income of the child (in certain circumstances), and any extraordinary expenses incurred for the child. Child support is usually paid to the parent having the primary residential care of the child for the majority of the time. Generally, if the parent who does not have the primary residential care of the child for the majority of the time cares for the child for more than 92 overnights each year, his or her support obligation may be reduced. Courts may deviate from the child support guidelines where application of the guidelines would be inequitable, unjust, or inappropriate. The court must make written or oral findings setting forth the reasons for the deviation. When the parents' combined monthly gross income exceeds $30,000, the child support guidelines are no longer applicable and the court must exercise its discretion in determining the monthly child support obligation after considering the financial resources of both parents and the child, the physical and emotional condition of the child, the needs of the non-custodial parent, and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents' relationship not ended. Duration of Child Support Order Generally, a child support order lasts until the child reaches age 19 unless the child gets married or enters into active military duty prior to age 19. The court may continue support beyond age 19 if the child is still in high school or an equivalent program or is unable to care for himself or herself due to mental or physical disability. The court may also order a parent to provide postsecondary education support (to assist with tuition, books and fees for college or vocational training) until the child reaches age 21. Imputing Income to a Parent When a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may calculate child support based upon that parent's potential income. Generally, a parent will not be deemed to be voluntarily unemployed if he or she is physically or mentally incapacitated, is caring for a child under age 30 months, or is incarcerated in prison under a sentence of one year or more. Generally, a parent will not be deemed to be voluntarily underemployed if he or she is in the process of changing careers or obtaining additional education, as long as the child is not deprived of reasonable support during this process. Medical Support The court is required to provide for the child's medical needs and may order either or both parents to purchase medical insurance for the child or include the child on existing health insurance. Dependency Exemption When a parent is required to maintain health insurance for a child, the court may allocated the right to claim the child as a dependency exemption for income tax purposes. A parent who has not paid the full amount of court-ordered child support in any tax year will not be entitled to claim the child as a dependency exemption for that tax year. If the parents are cooperative, it is possible to maximize the benefit of the dependency exemption by having the parent who would receive the greater benefit from the exemption claim the exemption and pay to the other parent the amount the other parent would have benefitted from the exemption. This results in the parties retaining more of their collective incomes. Security for Child Support Parties often agree to maintain life insurance to ensure that funds are available for support of the child if one or both of the parents dies. Modification of a Child Support Order A child support order may be modified upon a showing of substantial and continuing change in circumstances of the parties. Generally, the party seeking modification has to show that the change in circumstances results in a 10% or greater change in the monthly child support obligation.