Child custody and child support are not always static. They fluctuate based on parental income, visitation, and court orders. Because of the chances of fluctuation, it is important to know what types of child support structures exist based on which parent has custody.
How is Child Support Calculated?
It is important to keep in mind that each state has its own laws regarding child custody and support. This guide should be taken in the broadest sense possible, and if you have questions regarding your custody and support arrangements or about the laws in your state, you should consult an attorney that specializes in the area of child custody.
There are several variations of custody that parents can have, including:
- Sole custody
- Joint custody
- De facto parent custody
Generally, all child support payments are calculated by the percentage of physical overnights the minor child spends in each location. The magical percentage is 35 percent. If a child spends 35 percent or more of their nights with each parent, the court typically follows the shared custody model. If the child spends less than 35 percent of their overnights with one parent, the court will usually follow the sole custody guideline. The way each state calculates the actual monetary figure for each month’s support payment varies, but typically is based on the parents’ income, which sometimes includes both parents or sometimes just one of them. Also taken into consideration are the needs of the child, the ability of the non-custodial parent, if there is one, to take care of themselves, the standard of living the minor child would have known had the parents not divorced, and how much the non-custodial parent spends on any other children they may have.
Renegotiating Child Support
There are situations where the amount of child support changes. For instance, the non-custodial parent could lose their job, which results in a serious reduction in income and could be terms for a renegotiation in child support payments. A serious illness on the part of either parent or even the child could produce similar results. If the child were to inherit a large sum of money or reach legal age, child support could be renegotiated.
Each state has different calculations used for deciding how much child support should be paid post divorce. A local attorney who specializes in child custody would be a good resource.