When you have children, you have a legal obligation to provide for them, even if you aren’t in a relationship with the other parent. As a result, most unmarried parents need to pay some type of child support.
How is child support set, and what impacts your case? Keep reading for more child support case info.
1. Your Child’s Past Standard of Living
When considering child support, the courts tend to look at the child’s standard of living. After all, the goal of the family court is to prevent the disruption of the affected child’s life as much as possible.
In other words, if a custodial parent argues for more money than you were both previously spending on the child, they are unlikely to get it. However, the opposite is also true: if the court finds out you are trying to underpay, then you still won’t win.
2. Your Income
What do you earn? What does your ex earn? These figures both play a role in what the court decides is appropriate.
However, the result is also weighed according to who has custody. For example, if the custodial parent is the lower earner, then you may find that the higher-earning parent pays more in child support than they might if the custodial parent’s salary is highest.
Remember that your child support arrangement isn’t final. If you or your ex-partner increase your income dramatically or undergoes serious hardship, then you can ask a child support lawyer to help you renegotiate the arrangement
3. Your Child’s Age and Needs
As your children grow older, there may be more costs involved in providing for them, particularly in terms of education. You may see your child support requirements go up or down according to where they are in life.
Keep in mind that your child support agreement doesn’t end the day they turn 18. If they are still in high school or if they have special needs, then most states require you to continue paying.
Again, your child support payment isn’t final. Expect to go back to the negotiation table as your kids’ age.
4. How Many Kids You Have
The number of children on the order also impacts how much you pay. However, the way the number is calculated depends on the state you live in. Most states use an income shares model that divides the cost up based on the number of children and who earns most of the income.
However, it’s not compounded per child. Usually, there’s a rate for one child and then a rate for either four or six children.
For example, you’ll give 20% of your take-home pay in Texas for one child and 35% if you have four or more children. You won’t pay 40% of your income in child support for two children.
Looking for More Child Support Case Info?
Child support is a technical subject because each state sets its own rules on the matter.
However, it’s important to remember that the state does try to keep it fair. You can adjust and re-adjust your agreement as time goes on.
Ready for more child support case info? Read our article on 5 things to consider when going through a divorce.