The amount of child support to be awarded in a case is based on statewide guidelines established by the state’s Supreme Court. The starting point for applying the guidelines is to identify the monthly income of the parents as well as the number of children in need of support. The guidelines are intended to ensure that similarly situated parties are treated similarly. Once the amount of support per the guidelines is identified, the amount is allocated between the parties based on their respective income as well as the custody schedule. The amount of support reflected in the guidelines is based on the average expenditures of children for food, housing, transportation and other necessary miscellaneous items.
Additional expenses for the children can be addressed as part of a child support award, such as cost of health insurance, daycare, private school tuition or camp. The amount of support dictated by the guidelines is presumed to be correct. There is not much room for argument as far as what amount of support is appropriate. The guidelines make financial support of children a top priority and the expectation is that other expenses will be adjusted to ensure the child support obligation can be met. Either party can initiate a complaint for child support to get a court order on the amount owed. Wage garnishment is the preferred method of collection for child support and the court will seek to have any support due taken directly from the pay check of the party paying support. Set up a consult with one of our experienced attorneys to better understand your obligations in child support.