Child Support and Modifying Child Support
For every child custody order, there is a corresponding order of child support, even if it is "0". Child support has been mandated by our legislature through application of the child support guidelines. Child support is ordered for a child until he or she reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. A child support obligation is based on the parents' combined gross monthly incomes. Wages, commissions, bonuses, trust income, self-employment income, social security benefits, and rental income may be counted as income for child support purposes. To determine each parent's gross income, they will need to exchange income information, such as pay stubs, income tax returns, profit-and-loss statements . After calculating the basic child support obligation, the court will add the monthly of health insurance, child care, at sometimes, private school tuition. Each parent will pay child support based on his or her percentage earnings of their combined gross monthly income.
There is also a downward adjustment for an obligor, who has annual parenting time. First his annual parenting time is calculated under the guidelines, then a percentage reduction in the child support obligation is applied. His or her child support obligation is then reduced by that percentage. The purpose of this adjustment is to allow that parent to provide for the child during his or her parenting time. The more time a parent spends caring for a child, the less child support is paid under the guidelines.
Parent can negotiate a deviation from the guidelines, as long as it is fair, in the child's best interest, and full disclosure of the amount owed under the guidelines is provided to both parents. In other words, the parents need to prepare a parent worksheet before they reach an agreement to deviate from the child support guidelines obligation.
Child support can be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change in the financial circumstances of the family, resulting in a 15% change (higher or lower) in the child support obligation.