Child support payments are determined not by precedent but by support guidelines worked out by the State and enforced by the courts. A non-custodial parent will not be able to use anything the custodial parent has done with other children as a precedent for what should or should not be paid in child support. If you are a parent who is concerned that the amount of support stipulated by the guidelines is too much for you to afford, you’ll need to file for a reduction order and establish good cause for why you cannot pay. There is a formula in place that is difficult to get around, so talk to a qualified child support attorney for advice on how to make your case.
Income is the driving factor when it comes to the decision on how much child support is obligated. The courts will consider the amount of income each parent earns, and if one parent is voluntarily unemployed or under-employed, income can be imputed, which means the court assigns a value that reflects what that parent is capable of earning. The cost of caring for the child will also be considered. For example, if full time daycare is required in order that both parents can work, each parent will bear some responsibility for those child care costs.
If a custodial parent voluntarily agreed to take less child support than what was recommended or required in the past, it does not mean that such a precedent will hold in a current child support case. The courts will consider what the particular child needs in terms of support from each parent, and there will be no weight placed on what other children from that same custodial parent may or may not be receiving.
This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.