HOW DOES THE COURT CALCULATE CHILD SUPPORT
Many clients are confused about how child support is calculated and what factors are considered, the following is a brief explanation.
CHILD SUPPORT IS CALCULATED USING A COMPUTER PROGRAM
Attorneys and judges use a computer program to calculate child support and spousal support. The most common are Dissomaster or Ex-spouse. The Department of Child Support Services (DSS) also has an online tool that calculates child support. You will need to gather some information before attempting to calculate the amount of child support, for both you and the other parents. The information can be found on your last tax return, your mortgage statement, and your paycheck stubs. Specifically you will need to know:
What is the gross monthly income for each party? (before taxes)
How much does each party pay for health insurance?
How much does each party pay for union dues?
How much does each party pay for child care?
If a party owns a property:
What is the mortgage amount?
What are the property taxes each month?
How much of the mortgage payment goes towards the interest each month?
How much of the mortgage payment goes towards the principal each month?
And most importantly how much time does each party spend with the children? I will have to address how to calculate timeshare in another blog, because that is a topic all in itself.
Once you have the above information, you can punch in the data to the computer program and you will get the amount of child support. The input screen is arranged with one column for dad and one column for mother. Each time you add a new figure you should make sure that the computer program re-calculates the amount of child support.
THE COURTS DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR MONTHLY EXPENSES
One of the troubling things for many clients is that the child support calculation does not account for monthly expenses. So it will not matter if you have a huge monthly car payment, a lot of credit cards, or pay a lot in rent.
The child support calculation is aimed to make sure that children are taken care of, that they have enough food on the table, etc. I often hear my clients say “I won’t have enough money to live on.” I then explain that the Courts don’t care about that, they care that children are taken care of.
ASKING THE COURT TO CONSIDER YOUR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCE
Of course, you can still attempt to persuade the court to consider some other factors, such as private school tuition or monthly uninsured medical costs. There is room to punch these amounts into the calculation, which end up reducing the amount of support. You just have to be ready to provide evidence of the special circumstance and to argue why it is in the best interests of the children to do so.
Remember that child support can always be changed, so if you suspect the payor is making more you should definitely do something. Please feel free to contact me for a consultation.
By Norma Nogueda, Esq.
The Law Offices Of Vincet W Davis And Associates