The amount of child support that a non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay is generally a percentage of the non-custodial parent s share of the combined parental income. The court is, however, empowered to limit the amount of combined parental income to which the percentage is applied.
In determining the basic child support obligation of a non-custodial parent, the court must first determine the combined parental income. It must then multiply the combined parental income up to a certain point, or, cap, by a statutory percentage and then pro-rate the child support obligation between the parents in the same proportion as each parent s income is to the combined parental income. The percentage used is determined by the number of children to be supported. The percentages are listed in the Child Support section of our resources page.
The amount of the cap is adjusted every two years. As of 20l4, it is $l4l,000.00. If the parents have combined income of more than $l4l,000.00, the court must determine the amount of child support to be paid from the amount of combined parental income in excess of the cap. It does so through consideration of a number of factors.
These factors include the financial resources of both parents and the child, the health and special needs of the child, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage (if there was one) not been terminated, the tax consequences, the non-monetary contributions of the parents to the care and well-being of the children, the educational needs of the parents, the comparative gross incomes of the parties and extraordinary expenses required by the non-custodial parent to enjoy visitation with the children. After considering all of the statutory factors, and any other factors the court deems relevant, it determines how much, if any, child support shall be paid in addition to that calculated up to the cap. The determination is within the discretion of the court, who may decide to apply the statutory percentage to the income over the cap, to apply a different percentage, or to require some other payment that the court deems to be just and appropriate under the circumstances of the case.
Child support calculations can be confusing. An attorney who practices divorce and child support law can clarify the procedure for you.