Your marriage has crumbled and you are headed for divorce. There are children involved, therefore you will be required to provide child support. The amount that you will pay your ex-spouse each month will hinge largely on what the court determines. In fact, its ruling is final and only can be changed through a successful appeal you might mount after the fact. Here is what goes into calculating child support.
1. The needs of the child. The court will look very closely at the needs of the child or children. These needs are enumerated in a number of areas to include: education, day care, medical and dental insurance, and special needs that may apply to a child. For instance, if you have a child who is autistic, the court may require you to pay for therapy or other assistance.
2. The needs of the custodial parent. When divorcing, the court will name one parent as the custodial parent. This means this individual has the chief burden in caring for the children. With that burden comes certain expenses incurred for managing a household. That individual may not be able to work outside of the home and will, therefore, have overhead that will be added to the child support.
3. Your ability to pay. Clearly, the courts cannot extract money from you that you do not have. That being said they will carefully examine your earnings to determine what your monthly obligation will be. Your attorney will explain to you how that figure might be reached in your state. Ask him to clarify any point that you might not understand.
4. Standard of living maintenance. Certainly, a child’s standard of living may change following a divorce. However, the court will seek to maintain that standard or arrive at a number close to it. This may mean hardship on your part, but courts usually rule in favor of the child’s best interest explains Phillip Bahakel & Associates.
Know that as part of the child-support settlement process, each party will be required to submit a financial statement outlining their own financial situation. It is based on that statement and other considerations where the court will make its determination. Keep in mind that the court is aware that maintaining two households is more difficult than one household and the goal may fall short of that reality.
Once a child support amount has been determined it cannot be changed apart from court order. Modification orders can be made for the following reasons: a cost of living increase, a job change made by either parent, a child medical emergency, a change in the needs of the child, remarriage, or some other factors. It is these sort of changes that require the assistance of your attorney.
State law may have much bearing on child support in your area. You may be required to revisit what you pay on an annual basis, with your pay stubs and tax returns used as basis for adjusting your support. Your attorney can outline what you should expect in the months and years ahead, providing a framework of action for you to follow.