Divorce-Awarded Child Support: Q & A


A divorce can be difficult, especially when children are involved. During a divorce, one of the parental concerns that may arise is the amount of child support that may be awarded. Here are a few questions and answers to help divorcing parents make sense of court-awarded child support: 

 What should child support cover?

Child support is designed to help cover daily expenses associated with the child or children whose parents are divorcing. These expenses may include essential items, such as food, clothes, personal hygiene products and diapers. However, they may also include items needed for school.

In addition, child support should assist the custodial parent with the cost he or she is paying to provide housing for the child. 

Will the court track the spending of the child support money?

The court does not maintain records of how the receiving parent spends the child support. The amount of support is calculated with the understanding that the custodial parent will also be contributing to the child's financial support. Thus, the awarded child support should contribute to the child's needs in the same way that a contribution would be made by the non-custodial parent if he or she lived in the same home with the child.

How is child support calculated?

Child support is often calculated using a percentage of the non-custodial parent's monthly income. However, the number of children supported and the child-related expenses of the custodial parents are also considered.

Does the court consider gross or net income?

When determining child support amounts, the court reviews the gross income of the non-custodial parent. Thus, the taxes and other deductions that are excluded from the take-home pay are not used in the determination.

How does imputed income affect child support?

Imputed income can raise child support amounts. It is income that may be attributed to the non-custodial parent by the court based on what the court feels that the parent should be earning.

There are several reasons that imputed income may be assigned. Here are a few:

  • The parent seems to have purposely hidden income that would increase the amount of child support assigned.
  • The parent chooses to be unemployed even though they are healthy enough and have sufficient education to secure employment.
  • The parent receives a large amount of income from investments.
  • The parent receives income from a trust fund.

If you have children and are planning to divorce, seek counsel from a divorce lawyer (such as Andrew H P Norton) in your area. He or she can help you determine the amount of child support that may be involved in your specific case.

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