Child support covers a broad range of children from different families. These children include those born from a marriage and those born from a relationship, whether it be a relationship between romantic partners or brief friends. Regardless how a child is conceived and brought into this world, the parents have the responsibility to put their children’s needs first, this includes financial support.
Financial support for children is referred to as child support in the realm of family law. Child support is not a number the parents think they can afford, or a right that a parent can waive for their child. Child support is the child’s right to financial support. The child support amount is determined through a calculation that considers both parents’ income amount, monthly expenses paid for the child (such as health insurance, recurring medical costs, and childcare), and the amount of overnights each parent has with the child. The calculation of numbers is outlined in child support guidelines.
The income that is considered for child support guidelines may not be the same type of income that many think of. Generally, people think of income as the amount received from working a typical 9:00 – 5:00 job. However, income for child support considers the following:
If either parent is unemployed and they have a history of gainful employment, or the ability to work, then income may be imputed to that parent. Often times, minimum wage is the go to imputation amount. However, if there is a history of gainful employment that shows a parent makes more and is choosing to be underemployed, the Court can impute income above minimum wage to match what that parent can make.
Child support is mandatory in any family law case involving children. There is never a set amount that a parent will receive for a child, and at times the child support amount may be zero. Every case is unique, and the amount child support should never be the motive when determining what is in the best interest of your child.