What Determines Child Support Payments?

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Parents Taking Children On Trip In Open Top Car

Going through a divorce can leave you feeling stressed and worried about the future, but if your divorce involves a child custody agreement and a support order, you may feel your stress rising even higher. Child support is a legal order that comes from the judge and the court. It provides the custodial parent, who is the parent responsible for the child more than 50% of the time, with financial support to cover child raising costs. Noncustodial parents will likely have questions about what the court uses to determine these orders and payments.

Number of Kids

One factor that determines the amount of money one parent gives to the other is the number of children involved. If you have just one child with your former spouse, the court can order that you pay a smaller amount than you would pay towards the support of two or more children. The court can only take a certain percentage of your total income though, which means that any children you have later will receive less funds. The less money you make, the less the court can order you to pay.

Child Custody

The court will also look at who is the custodial parent and the amount of time that each individual spends with the child. A good example is a couple who shares custody. You might have your child every other week and split holidays with your ex-spouse. The court will typically decide that you should pay less than someone who spends less time with their children. This is because you cover the expenses of raising your child on the days that you have him or her, which reduces the expenses that your ex faces.

Daily Expenses

Child support lawyers in Tampa FL and any other city will tell you that the main factor that determines child support orders are the daily expenses that parents face. Those expenses include everything from food and clothing to health insurance and school trips. The court may require that you keep the child on your health insurance policy through work and hold you in contempt for letting the insurance lapse. Judges can also require that you name your child as the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy and/or that you put money into a college account for your child. Lawyers handling these cases can give you more information and help you figure out what the court might order you to pay too.