When couples with children divorce or split, the law views the parent with whom the kid generally lives as the “custodial parent.” The “non-custodial” parent is the other partner. The sum of money paid by the noncustodial parent to the other party to help fund the child’s basic needs is known as “child support.” Some of the basic needs covered by child support include clothing, education, shelter, food, and medical care expenses.
What Are The Basis For Child Support?
The primary determinant of child support is parental income. However, the concept of parental income for child support purposes varies from one state to another. Some jurisdictions, for instance, might consider both parents’ income, whereas others only consider the noncustodial parent’s earnings.
What Factors Go Into Determining Child Support?
All states are required by federal law to define standards for calculating child support. So, if you are wondering “how much is child support?,” the response is that it all rests on your state’s rules.
It is important to remember that both parents have a responsibility to care for their children. According to the guidelines, each parent is liable for a certain amount of child care. Most, if not all, states allow courts to diverge from the rules if necessary. The reasons for divergence are typically mentioned in a state’s divorce laws.
Irrespective of how much leeway the law grants judges, most states’ rules dictate what variables the court must weigh when deciding who contributes how much child support. Typical examples of these variables are:
- The needs of the child, such as health insurance, schooling, special needs, and daycare
- The income and needs of the custodial parent
- The capacity of the paying parent to pay
- The quality of living of the child before the divorce or separation.
Courts typically require each parent to fill out a questionnaire that offers a full image of their financial situation before reaching a child support decision. The parents should disclose their monthly income and expenditure in the financial statements.
When a court determines child support, it generally recognizes the family’s pre-divorce (or separation) standard of living. And, to the extent practicable, try to uphold this standard for the kids.
However, courts recognize the challenge of supporting two families on the same income that previously funded only one. Sustaining the same quality of living, therefore, is more of a target than an assurance.
What Is A COLA Clause, And What Does It Mean?
A COLA provision ensures that payments would gradually rise on a set schedule in a child support order. This rate is equivalent to the present living standards as calculated by an economic indicator, i.e., the Consumer Price Index. This clause removes any need for adjustments based purely on fluctuations in the living costs. Some jurisdictions, Washington State, included, impose COLA clauses in their child support orders.
Are you considering divorce? Talk to an experienced Tacoma Divorce Attorney at Alliance Law today. They will give you invaluable insights and transparent legal counsel into how much you should pay for child support.