The issue of child support is one that comes up in cases where children are involved, namely in divorce, legal separation, civil union and parentage cases. In July 2017, the child support law was modified wherein the support obligation would be based off the adjusted net income of both parents along with the number of overnights a child resided with each parent. The idea behind the new law is to create a more equitable treatment towards each parent and to allow a court to take the circumstances of each parent into consideration. It is the hopes of the legislature that the new law promotes settlements and decrease the amount of litigation over the issue of child support.
Pursuant to the new statute, relevant factors a court may consider are: (1) The financial resources and needs of the child; (2) The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent; (3) The standard living the child would have enjoyed should the parents have been living together; (4) The physical and emotional condition of the child and their educational needs; and (5) The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.
In the event one parent claims that they are underemployed or unemployed and it is found that this is willful, regardless of it being an attempt to lower the amount of child support or not, a court has the discretion to impute and calculate the potential income that parent should be making if they were fully employed. The statute further specifies that child support should not be lower than Forty Dollars ($40.00) per month per child or if there is more than one child involved, then the amount should not be lower than One Hundred Twenty Dollars ($120.00) per month for all children combined. Further, if there are excruciating circumstances, the court has the discretion to deviate from the set child support standard, in addition to assessing contribution for childcare, extracurricular, medical and education costs.
In the event each parent exercises One Hundred Forty-Six (146) or more overnights per year with the child, the basic child support obligation is multiplied by 1.5. That number is then multiplied by each parent’s portion of the shared child support obligation, then it is multiplied by the percentage of time the child spends with the other parent. The obligation is then offset by each of the parents’ obligation with the parent owing more is to pay the difference between the two amounts. So, in laymen terms – it’s a complicated formula. Nonetheless, attorneys at Kiswani Law, P.C. are trained and are well versed in the new law and can help you calculate the child support obligation for your case.
Lastly, the statute has made it clear, you cannot run into court and attempt to modify your child support obligation just because the law has changed. Rather, you can only modify your child support obligation if a substantial change in circumstances has arisen and that change cannot be the law itself.
For more information and your free phone consultation feel free to call Kiswani Law, P.C. at 708-210-9247.