How is child support calculated?
Child support is calculated by applying the child-support guidelines to the obligor’s “net resources” and taking into consideration any other factors that might justify deviating from the child-support guidelines. This “gross” income should be calculated on an annual basis. “Available resources” include, but are not limited to, the following:
- 100% of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses);
- Interest, dividends, and royalty income;
- Self-employment income;
- Net rental income (defined as rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including noncash items such as depreciation); and
- All other income actually being received, including severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security income benefits other than supplemental security income, U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits other than non-service-connected disability pension benefits, as defined by 38 U.S.C. Section 101(17), unemployment benefits, disability and workers’ compensation benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the sources, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance and alimony.
The following items are deducted from the available resources in order to determine the net resources: (a) social security taxes, (b) federal income tax based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction, (c) state income tax; (d) union dues, (e) expenses for the cost of health insurance or cash medical support for the obligor’s child, and (f) if the obligor does not pay social security taxes, nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions.
Once the annual net resources are determined, that annual amount is divided by 12 in order to get a net monthly resources amount. Depending on the number of children, the obligor could pay from 20% to 50% of his net monthly resources as child support. The court may adjust the guidelines where the obligor supports children in more than one household. An automatic increase for future child support payments is an abuse of discretion.
The percentages apply if the obligor’s net monthly resources are $8,550.00 per month or less. If they are more than $8,500.00, the percentages will apply on the first $8,550.00. The court may order additional child support depending on the income of the parties and the proven needs of the child.
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