Who will pay child support will depend to a great extent on where the children spend most of their time. If your spouse is the custodial parent, then you will almost always be required to pay child support. Generally the courts hold that both parents are responsible for supporting the children, and when the children stay with one parent most of the time, chances are that custodial parent will require some assistance paying for the housing, food, clothing, and everything else the children need. But there are cases where the parent with primary custody has been ordered to pay child support to the non-custodial parent. When the custodial parent’s income is substantial greater than the other’s parent’s, the court can order the custodial parent to pay child support to the non-custodial parent based on the amount of time the non-custodial parent spends with the children. If you and your spouse share custody 50-50 and your income is significantly greater than your spouse’s income, you will generally be required to pay child support to your spouse even though you’re caring for the children half the time. Seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to calculate child support.
If you are expecting to pay child support, there are a many resources you could turn to for help in calculating what you might expect to pay in child support. You can always use the Internet. If you aren’t connected at home, you can visit a café or public library where you can get online and do some research. Generally a parent who wants to get a general idea of how much support he or she is likely to be ordered to pay:
• Talk to an experienced family law attorney. The attorney will generally have a software that will calculate support under the state law. The attorney can provide you with the most accurate idea of how much child support you will have to pay.
• Use an online calculator (or downloadable worksheets) specifically designed for your state by either the court system, the child support enforcement agency for your state, or a commercial website. This will provide you with an approximate estimate of the child support you may have to pay.
• You can use one of the many online calculators to get a ballpark figure. However it is not nearly as reliable as either of the other methods. Firstly an online calculator will not provide you with the exact amount of support that you may be ordered to pay. The guidelines are not necessarily the be-all and end-all of what a judge would order.
A judge will consider your state’s child support guidelines when determining the amount of child support you may have to pay. Also the parent expected to pay child support can persuade the judge to reduce the amount based on the circumstances and other factors.
Calculating child support is complex. Consult with an experienced family law attorney. The attorney can guide you through the complex maze of child support guidelines in your state.