In divorce cases involving children or in paternity cases, child support must be calculated. Both parents have an obligation to provide support to their children.
Child support guidelines must be filed in each case. The guidelines determine the amount of support that will be paid. Child support generally automatically terminates when the child reaches the age of eighteen years, or upon their graduation from high school if upon attaining such age the child is enrolled full time in high school with a reasonable expectation of graduating before age nineteen years; or before such time if the child becomes emancipated or enlists in the armed service.
Child support takes into consideration the income of each parent, the child care and health insurance costs for each child, health insurance costs for the parents, timesharing, number of children and income tax deductions/exemptions. Income includes wages, business income, bonuses, social security, rental income, alimony, unemployment compensation, pension or interest earned from investments. If one parent is underemployed or unemployed, the Court may impute income to that parent. The information for the child support guidelines is obtained from the financial affidavits each parent is required to prepare and file.
Once the child support order has been entered, either parent may seek modification of the support order based upon a showing of a substantial and material change in circumstances. The change must be at least 10% of the existing support.
The parents will also be required to allocate uncovered or out of pocket medical expenses for the children. Additionally, the parents may be required to share in the costs for agreed upon extra-curricular activities for the children. Although the Court will not order the parents to pay for college related expenses for children, the parties can agree to cost share in this expense.