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Divorce FAQs

How is child support determined?

Most state laws have guidelines to determine child support payments. The payment amount is based on each parent's income and the amount of time he or she spends with the children. The guidelines also provide for add-on amounts for the following expenses:

  • Child care
  • Health care and health insurance
  • Special educational or other needs
  • Travel-related visitation
Parents can increase or decrease the guideline amount if the following conditions are met:
  1. Both parents acknowledge they are fully informed of their rights under state law and the amount of child support is mutually agreed upon
  2. Both parents declare that the agreed upon amount is in the children's best interests and will adequately meet their needs and
  3. For welfare recipients, the right to support has not been assigned to the county, and neither parent has a public assistance application pending
Keep in mind that the judges presiding over divorce proceedings are the ultimate authority on child support decisions. They can deviate from the guidelines as they see fit.