Child Support Calculations And Enforcement

An order of child support is usually given to a non-custodial parent of a child and tells that parent what he or she must do to support the child.  Most often, the order includes ongoing monetary payments for the benefit of the child.  These periodic payments are usually, but not always, paid to the custodial parent.  Compliance issues with child support are generally handled at the state level, but certain criteria will allow the federal government to get involved. 

The amount of a child support payment is based on state law.  Several factors go into this determination, including the childs age and the net income of the parents. The courts are required to set the payment amounts according to the state guidelines. Another factor that the courts might consider is a childs medical expenses, especially if they are particularly high. 

If you anticipate receiving an order for payment of child support, you can get a pretty good estimate of what your payment will be on line.  Many sites, including most state sites, have links to child support calculation software that can show you what your payments might look like.  This software prompts the user to input basic information about the income and expenses of both parents.  The calculator will then come up with an estimated payment amount. 

The softwares child support calculation is just an estimate, and is not binding on the courts.  No online calculator can be completely accurate, because all child support situations are different.  Judges in these cases will often take in to account various other factors that the calculator does not consider.  Among these factors are medical expenses, psychological care, and independent income of the child.

The determination of how much a support order will be is made by the judge in the case.  However, state law has a chart that the judge will use as a guideline for determining the amount of the payment.  The chart uses the income from both parents to determine the total monthly support needed by the child.  The court then will divide the obligation for that support between the parents according to their net income.  Adjustments will then be made by the court according to the special conditions that the state law allows the courts to consider. After all of this is taken into consideration, the court will then issue an order for a periodic child support payment to be made from one parent directly to the other parent. 

This obligation will not change unless one of the parties petitions the court to reconsider the amount of the award.  Enforcement of non-payment of support happens in several ways. The state can but a lien on real or personal property.  Income tax refunds can also be taken to satisfy a support obligation.  Employers can be ordered to withhold a certain amount from each paycheck to make the payments owed.  Non-payment of child support is a criminal offense in all state and federal jurisdictions, and is also reported to the credit reporting agencies.

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