Once the court determines which parent has custody of a child, the next issue that must be decided is financial support. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, understanding how child support works is important. If you and the other parents are in the process of negotiating child support, here is what you need to know.
Can Child Support Be Based on Ability to Earn?
When determining how much child support is necessary, the court can look at a number of factors. The non-custodial parent's current income and his or her other financial obligations are part of the examination. In addition to this, the court can choose to look at how much the non-custodial parent could potentially earn.
There is a possibility that the court could decide to increase the amount of child support that is ordered if there is a difference between what he or she is currently earning and what could be earned.
For instance, if you are the non-custodial parent and are on the verge of graduating from medical school, the judge could choose a higher award amount based on the fact that your earnings will increase in the future.
Whether or not the court decides to do this is usually based on the details of the case. The court could decide to wait on an increase until the other parent is receiving the higher income before making any adjustments to the amount owed.
Is Child Support Adjusted for Cost of Living?
In some child support orders, a cost of living adjustment clause is included. The clause leads to an automatic increase in how much child support is received every year. The amount of the increase is based on an economic factor, such as Consumer Price Index.
The clauses are not automatically included in some courts. If it is not included in your order, it can be requested. By including the increase, both parents can avoid the hassle of returning to court to request an increase.
Does Joint Custody Impact Child Support?
If joint custody is awarded, it is possible that the court will base how much is owed in child support on how much time each parent has the child. Whether or not this occurs in your case depends on your state's laws and the court.
Consult with a family law attorney, such as Grenadier, Starace, Duffett & Keisler, PC, to learn other details about your state's laws regarding child support and what your obligations will be.