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Questions on Child Support Guidelines

The law views child support as the right of the child and not that of the parents. The parents are by law obligated to contribute to their children’s care and maintenance. If the parents live in different residences, an obligation to pay child support automatically arises, regardless of whether there is an agreement or court order to pay child support. The child support amount may be agreed upon mutually, through a third party, or through the court. Get more information on federal child support guidelines from Family Lawyers on JustAnswer. Here are some of the top questions answered by them.

What are the child support guidelines in the case of split custody where the children are separated between the US and another country?

Each state has different child support guidelines. You may obtain these guidelines from the clerk at the court in your county. Child support is determined by the state which issued the original order as long as one parent still resides in that state. Any modification sought by the parent will be determined by the court based on his/her financial declarations. The judge may order a variance based on any issue presented by either party. One of those could be a difference in the cost of living.

How is the cost of child support calculated?

Both parents have the same duty to pay child support irrespective of sex. In the case of joint custody, the parent with a higher income (obligor) may be required to pay the other parent (obligee).

The non-custodial parent (the parent that does not have the majority of the time with the child) would normally pay a percentage of the predetermined amount. The guidelines are determined on the basis of the total family income and then a percentage is assigned to each parent. Let's say the custodial parent earns $60,000 per year and the non custodial parent $40,000. The custodial parent would normally be responsible for 60% and the non-custodial parent 40%, which the latter will have to pay as the child is not living with him/her.

Each parent is responsible for his or her own babysitting expenses while the child is in their care unless otherwise specified by the child support order. However, day care calculations may be considered as additional expense.

Also, sometimes "credit" is given based on the number of nights the child stays with each parent. Typically, the parents may not agree on a child support amount that differs from the guidelines. Child support is considered a right of the child that can't be bargained away by the parents.

Can a spouse stop child support if he/she starts paying for the child’s college education?

Laws vary in each state, with a few states like New Jersey having some of the strictest laws for support through the college years. The court may require a spouse to pay for college as well as child support. Child support payments may not be stopped without the consent of the court. Paying for college does not substitute for making the payments on child support and the aggrieved party may file for contempt for the arrearages due. The only case in which the court may reduce payments is if the obligee starts working and the earnings are offset by reducing child support.

Do the new guidelines reduce child support if the noncustodial parent has over 20% overnight visits?

The new child support guidelines give what we formerly called the "non-custodial" parent a substantial reduction in the amount of child support they are required to pay. Before the change in the law, you were required to have at least 40% of the overnights to qualify for the reduction based on what we call the "gross-up" method. This was changed by the legislature effective January 1, 2011 and the new law only requires that you have 20% of the overnights, which is very close to what parents with guidelines "visitation" usually have. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can give you further insight in the matter.

The children are in my custody 95% of the time though court papers say 70%. Can I seek modification in child support even though I remarried?

The guidelines set by the court to calculate support may be modified periodically for various reasons including accounting for inflation. However, the right to seek modification has been limited to those situations where there has been a substantial change in the financial circumstances of either parent, or the child. This means that you may not seek modification based only upon the change in the guidelines or merely because of a new law.

The new law provides a schedule of base child support amount according to the total income of both parents. This amount is then allocated to each parent by virtue of that parent's share of the total income, and adjusted for other expenses.

You will usually not be penalized for remarriage, which means that your new spouse’s income is irrelevant and will not be included. The spouse acting as the obligor has the duty to pay. If children are spending less time with the obligor, he/she may be obliged to increase the child support payments.

Do I have to pay child support if I am a step-parent or a guardian?

You would typically not be required to pay child support for your stepchild. The biological parent is responsible to support his/her child. For the same reason, the guardian will normally not be required to pay child support.

The right to child support and the responsibilities of parents to provide such support are internationally recognized. Child support may often be arranged as part of a divorce, legal separation, marriage annulment or dissolution, determination of parentage, or dissolution of a civil union, and may supplement alimony (spousal support) arrangements. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer any questions you have about child support laws and child support guidelines.
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Recent Child Support Guidelines Questions

  • My husband pays child support through an agreement from Montgomery

    My husband pays child support through an agreement from Montgomery County Maryland courts. His oldest child is 27 and youngest is 18. We understood that it would stop when the 18 year old graduated high school which he did in June. He is going on to college and his mother is asking for continued child support. Can she do this? I found the following online for Maryland....
    The court may order support if the parties involved agree to support the child through 4 years of college or higher education. The Maryland child support guidelines provide that in determining whether the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case, the court may consider the terms of any existing separating or property settlement agreement or court order, including any provisions for payment of college educational expenses. Md. Family Law Code Ann. § 12-202.
  • I am a LPR since 2009. I first applied in 1997 and due to delays

    I require my question o be answered by USA attorneys. I am a LPR since 2009. I first applied in 1997 and due to delays by USCIS it had taken this long. During that time as life took over i pursued my continuing education, had another child, worked full time and bought my UK home. I currently do not work in the UK except for voluntary work, and will be returning to school in September in the UK to complete my post graduate law studies. I will using a loan of £13000 to complete a two year course. I have raised my son since birth as a single parent and am now pursuing a claim for child support against his American citizen father who lives in NC. His father has so far managed to delay and thwart an order. This is despite our son being in possession of a US passport obtained by USCIS in 2010, with the cooperation of his father, following positive DNA sampling. DNA sampling was again conducted as recently as May 2014 following a further attempt by his father to thwart a child support order in the belief that i would resist an assumption that i would have to visit NC to conduct the sampling with our son. However this was conducted via Lab Corp whilst my son and i remained in the UK at that time. I have been pursuing this child support order since 2009 via the California Child Support Services who transferred the case to the jurisdiction of the NC courts. My sons father is now seeking to show that i do not live in California in order to have my case dismissed. However i have provided utility bill in my name to the child support officer/attorney handling this case. In any event i also have a home in the UK which i own and intend to rent out in the future after i have finished my studies. I periodically return to the UK where our son attends high school and has done so since 2011 after finishing infant school. I wish for our son to complete high school in the UK as i believe this to be in the best interest of our son and to his advantage to do so. I later intend for our son to remain in California where he will attend college full time. I believe this will provide my son with the least disruption to his education, whilst receiving a valuable all rounded cultural experience throughout his adolescents years. I also have an older son who is also an LPR. He lives in, pays for, and looks after our home California. He also works full time in California and manages the household affairs whilst i complete my education and that of my younger son Robert in the UK. I am also in the process of applying for a re entry permit which is currently in administration and has been delayed because the USCIS had failed to update my new address as provided in 2013. I do not work in the UK. I pursue my studies and i am supported by my mother and father and by my older son when i visit our home in California. Once i have completed my studies in the UK i intend to pursue my legal studies via the California bar for which i have already completed my registration. I have now been asked to complete a affidavit for a financial statement. I am confused about the information i should include. I would like some advice on whether this should pertain to my income here in the USA which is nil apart from saving and support from my family, or my income in the UK which is much the same. When i first submitted my claim for child support I was asked about finances in relation to my USA residency. I was at that time living with my family who had acted as my sponsors for my USA residency. I have never worked in the USA. Can you advise on how my circumstance might impact on my case and any other information i should be aware of. I have therefore not paid any tax here as i spend about 9 months in the UK and the holidays here in the USA whilst our son and myself continue to school in the UK. Please advise. Ihttp://www.justanswer.com/loc/en/img/buttons/get_answer_on.gif

  • he filed for divorce months ago. hes in custody for breaking

    he filed for divorce months ago. he's in custody for breaking restraining order 5 times. never any violence involved. 4 children. he has no job - lost a great one before jail last time. will he have to pay alimony and support? how is it determined. he has no $ for a lawyer. can he go to legal aid on this?
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