How to calculate how much child support you will get

EVERY state has a different formula for calculating child support, but there are some factors common to all states.

The most important factor in calculating child support is whether one parent has joint or sole custody of the child.

The most important factor in determining child support is custody


The most important factor in determining child support is custodyCredit: getty

When one parent has sole custody, the other parent usually pays child support for them.

Custodian parents are considered to fulfill their obligations by caring for and providing for the child.

When there is joint custody, child support depends on how much each parent earns and how much time the child spends with them.

What other factors are considered?

While child support is calculated by the state, there are some federal guidelines found in Child Support Enforcement Act.

That said, most states consider the following factors:

  • The child’s financial needs, including education, child care and insurance
  • Income and needs of custodial parents
  • Income and ability of the parent to pay child support
  • Children’s standard of living

Parents are often required to provide the court with their financial situation, including monthly income and expenses.

For example, in New York, the court will use each parent’s income to make the following calculation:

First, the court determines each parent’s income and adds the two together.

The court then multiplies the total income by a percentage:

  • 17% for a child
  • 25% for two children
  • 29% for three kids
  • 31% for four children
  • 35% for five or more children

Ultimately, the court divides that amount based on each parent’s income so that the non-custodial parent pays his share.

The final amount is reviewed again before a court order is issued.

What if child support is not paid?

The Child Support Enforcement Act It is illegal for parents to knowingly not pay child support.

If one parent misses payments, the other parent, or a collection agency, can file a support violation in family court.

In New York, for a breach, both parents are entitled to a lawyer, but only the parent paying alimony can appoint a lawyer if they cannot afford it.

The family court will then decide whether the non-payment was intentional or unintentional.

If parents are found guilty of willfully not paying, they could be fined or jailed.

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Caroline Bleakley

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