Child Support is determined by the Child Support Guidelines, a mathematical calculation based off the combined incomes of the parties and the amount of overnight time the child spends with each parent. Additionally, the child support considers costs of health insurance and/or childcare. After the total support for the children is calculated, it is divided proportionally to each parent dependent on their income or earning capacity. This often results in one parent owing a monthly obligation to the other.
It should be noted that even an unemployed spouse will not have a zero dollar income in a child support calculation. As long as the spouse is not disabled, the spouse is imputed to be able to earn at least minimum wage at 40 hours per week. If the spouse has a degree or had a career prior, the presumption of income may be higher.
Interestingly enough, paying alimony to your spouse is included as “income” for child support purposes. So any alimony paid will be deducted from one party’s income and added to the other party’s income prior to running the child support number.
The purpose of child support is to provide for the children. We like to explain to our clients that child support is like a pie. It includes the cost of daycare and health insurance, as well as a basic daily amount for basic living expenses. We put all of these expenses into the entire pie of support needed. Then that pie is divided proportionally depending on the time-sharing schedule and incomes of the parties.
So in sum, child support is calculated by: