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Determining child support

One of the most common question divorcing parents have is how will the child support amount be determined? In almost every situation, the main factor is the income of the two parents. Both parents income will be verified using financial documents, such as W-2s, tax returns and bank statement if necessary, and then the overall amount of support is determined.

This overall amount is then divided into each person's "share." The custodial parent is assumed to be spending this money in the everyday support of the children, so it's the noncustodial parent who will actually have to pay his share to the other parent. The amount is often based on what percentage of the parents' incomes the paying parent is making. For example, if the noncustodial parent is making 60 percent of the total income, he may be responsible for paying 60 percent of the overall amount the courts determine it takes to care for the child.

Keep in mind that all forms of income are subject to inclusion. This includes traditional salaries and wages as well as self-employment income; monies from pensions, trusts and annuities; lottery winnings; alimony from another ex spouse; and any Social Security of Veterans benefits. In some cases, unrealized income, such as interest on IRAs and capital gains, can also be included.

The custody arrangement and parenting time order can also have a direct effect on the child support. For instance, if both parents have equal time with the children, there may be no child support payed by either party because the parents are assumed to be spending their shares when they are exercising their parenting time. As you can see, child support is a complicated matter, and it's important to talk with an attorney about what you base child support amount may be and whether there are grounds for any deviations.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support: Determining Parents' Income," accessed July 06, 2016

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