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Child Support Factors


Every state has established child support guidelines that help determine child support payments after divorce. Both parents' obligation to support the children, needs of the child and each parent's ability to pay are taken into account when making child support agreements. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 dictates that child support payments should be based upon parents' current income including wages, welfare benefits and income from assets such as stocks and bonds.

Primary Child Support Factors

Primary factors generally considered when issuing child support:

  • Parents' income
  • Time spent with the child
  • Health insurance and medical expenses
  • Child care costs
  • Educational expenses

Additional Child Support Factors

Divorce courts may deviate from the state child support guidelines in some cases. Some special factors that may warrant an adjustment in child support include:

  • Existing child support orders for other children
  • Extraordinary medical expenses
  • The child's standard of living prior to the divorce
  • Unusual living expenses of the custodial parent
  • Incomes above what the guidelines cover
  • Child's financial resources
  • Extremely adverse economic circumstances
  • Travel expenses for visitation

Child Support Modifications

It's possible to modify child support if a change of circumstances has occurred. Parents may agree to modify child support or allow the divorce court to determine what modification is needed. Factors that may warrant modifying child support include:

  • Increase or decrease in a parent's earnings or earning capacity
  • Change in child custody
  • Significant change in time each parent spends with the child
  • Change in the needs of the child
  • Parent disability

Speak with a Divorce Lawyer about Child Support Factors

A local divorce lawyer can explain the factors considered when determining child support obligations in your state. Protect your finances and your child's future by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form to set up a preliminary consultation.

Case Evaluation

The above summary of child support factors is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on child support laws, speak to a divorce attorney in your area.