Child support orders are based upon the Statewide Uniform Guideline for Child Support. Unfortunately, the guideline requires a computer program to calculate. It cannot be done by hand.
The courts take the position that child support is in the public interest and parents are generally required to follow the guideline, with few exceptions. The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is now involved in the majority of child support settings and enforcement proceedings. DCSS acts in the public interest and does not represent either parent although they tend to advocate the interests of the child support recipient.
The Statewide Uniform Guideline is based upon a large number of factors, primarily, the timeshare each party has with the children, the income of each party and childcare and health insurance expenses. But many of the factors are counter intuitive and confusing. For example if the person paying support marries a non-working spouse who he or she supports, or buys a home with a high mortgage payment, the child support award is higher than it is for a single person who rents an apartment. Many support payors fear stating their new spouse’s earnings, when in fact, the higher the new spouse’s earnings, the lower the support order will be. The same issues apply to the support recipient, except in reverse.
CLICK HERE for a sample of Questions & Answers given in e-mail correspondence discussing child support issues.