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How is child support calculated?

Any Coloradoan who has been through a divorce and is facing a child custody dispute may wonder how child support calculations work. When a court arrives at a final number, how does it get there?

There’s not necessarily an easy answer to that question. In general, there are no national rules or guidelines regarding exactly how much a divorcing parent may have to pay. Each state has its own rules about calculating child support payments, and even then it depends on a wide variety of circumstances.

For instance, it must be considered how much a parent pulls in as income. This is why parents with seemingly similar situations in different families may pay entirely different amounts in child support. Here are a few other things courts in various states may consider when calculating child support payments.

• The specific needs and income of the parent who has primary custody

• Education and daycare needs of the child, and other financial needs

• The paying parent’s tax and loan situation

• The child’s standard of living before the couple’s breakup

There are lots of factors that are taken into consideration, including a parent’s earning potential, and not necessarily just what their income is. As with many family law issues, each situation is different, so it’s difficult to generalize how the process works. That’s why it is beneficial for a divorcing parent to seek the assistance of a family law attorney who can help guide them through the process.

Source: Reuters, “How child support calculations work,” Andrew Lu, Aug. 12, 2012

• Our firm handles similar situations to what was discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Englewood child support page.

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