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Understanding how child support is calculated

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when a judge makes a ruling regarding child support. While some judges tend to follow a specific formula for rendering their decision, other judges will look at each case individually and make their decision after looking at several factors.

Laws vary by state on how child support payments are calculated, but they all typically want to assure that the best interests of the child are met. They want to make sure that the child is not negatively affected by the divorce, and will try to include all the necessary costs associated with raising a child before making their decision.

This means that they could include the income or potential income of each spouse, whether the child or children has any special medical or educational needs that could raise the cost of living and what entertainment or extra-curricular activities the child may be involved in that need to be included.

There are also several factors that could lower child support payments, including a non-custodial parent's duty to support a new spouse or child, joint custodial arrangements or new additional income awarded to the child or children in question, such as an inheritance.

While going through a divorce, it may be helpful to have a strong understanding of the laws and how the courts make their determinations and rulings. It may be in your best interests to get more information about divorce law to better learn the rules and prepare yourself for the upcoming hearings. Doing so could make a significant financial impact on how the courts rule and how child support payments are calculated.

Source: the spruce, "How Child Support Payments Are Calculated," Debrina Washington, June 17, 2017

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