Child Support

CHILD SUPPORT can be another contentious issue during and after divorce. Parents who were never married are also entitled to receive financial support to raise their children. The court reviews the parents’ incomes and makes a determination regarding child support.

You can request a judge to determine child support when you file for a(n):

  • Annulment
  • Divorce
  • Legal Separation
  • Domestic violence restraining order, or
  • Order establishing parentage

The court will make an award based upon state-established standards calculated using Dissomaster, a formula that includes the following information:

  • Each parent’s income (if one does not earn an income, but is able to, the court can impute a wage)
  • Each parent’s time share
  • The number of children
  • Each parent’s tax filing status
  • Health insurance expenses
  • Whether the child receives support from other sources
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • Daycare costs, education costs, and other expenses

Parents can agree to a different amount of child support, but the court must approve guideline support.

Child support continues until the child:

  • Turns 18 years of age and is no longer a full-time high school student
  • Turns 19 years of age
  • Becomes emancipated
  • Gets married
  • Forms a domestic partnership
  • Dies

A court may order the parents of a disabled adult child to pay child support for longer than what is usually required. Parents can agree to pay for other items related to child support such as college, extracuricular activities, medical co-pays, braces, etc.

A parent can attempt to change child support based upon a change in circumstances such as being laid off or having to support more children.

A parent must pay court ordered child support, if not, interest will accrue on amounts in arrears. If a parent is not being paid, the child support order can be collected through the Department of Children and Services by getting the payor’s wages attached. Amounts in arrears can also be collected through tax returns.