Determining Child Support Payments

Child Support

Child SupportTo effectively establish stable and consistent child support arrangements, the government mandates that states must use specific guidelines. While the specific guidelines differ from one state to another, below are the general factors considered when determining child support awards.

Income of Both Parents

The majority of state guidelines factor in both parents’ income. The amount of the parents’ combined income aids in determining the specific sum they may be mandated to deliver as child support. There are some states that factor in net income, while some states factor in gross income.


The court allows deductions for parents providing child support from a previous marriage. To qualify for deductions, the court should have ordered the parent to pay child support, and the parent must consistently be paying for it. However, a parent can’t make income deductions for supporting subsequent children or spouses.

Childcare Costs

Most states take into account the average amount a parent should spend on childcare costs. There are some states that will modify the allowable amount of these costs to factor in the federal Child Dependent Care Tax Credit.

Healthcare Costs

Provo child support attorneys from Buhler Thomas Law, P.C. say child support arrangements also state who must pay for a child’s health care insurance. The specific amount is added to the base child support arrangement and is credited to the parent paying for it.

Miscellaneous Expenses

The court may increase the basic child support arrangement to factor in other special expenses like the educational requirements of handicapped or special needs children. The court also considers visitation expenses. The non custodial parent receives the credit.

Other factors come into play when the court deliberates child support arrangements. Parents must ensure that the outcome is in the best interest of the child and will be beneficial and fair to everyone concerned.

When Do Child Support Payments End?

Child Support

Child SupportA common misconception that majority of people believe is that child support payments automatically stop when a child reaches 18 years old. However, child support laws are different from state to state, such that ending support and graduation don’t necessarily go together.

During a divorce in some states, the court can order a paying parent to provide child support until the child reaches 21 years old. Likewise, majority of states actually require paying parents to pay child support until a child’s high school graduation and in some instances, a child may already be well over 18 years old.

Child Support in Lump Sum

Child support is different from spousal support or alimony. In a lot of states, a waiver for seeking spousal support modification can be legally enforceable. However, a waiver for seeking child support modification is not, even in instances where the waiver was provided in place of a child support payment in lump sum.

Likewise, even if parents agree to a contract concerning child support lump sum payments, it is up to the judge to enforce the child support agreement or not.

Modifying Child Support

Life-changing events including a divorce, separation, injury, health issues, or job loss may warrant modification of a child support order. In this case, a parent can appeal to modify the child support agreement with the help of a St. George attorney. Modifying child support is a court order, and although it won’t immediately end the child support agreement, it will substantially increase or reduce the support payments a parent receives or provides.

Obtaining Legal Advice

Because child support orders don’t end immediately, a paying parent should request for the support payments to end when the child reaches 18 or 21, which is the age of majority in different states or in the event of emancipation.

If you have issues concerning child support orders, you must seek help from an attorney specializing in child support and family law, since every case is different and state laws can vary significantly.