About Law: Child Support Cost

About Law: Child Support Cost

Legal: Your State’s Court Will Decide What You Pay to Support your Children

Q: How do I estimate how much I will have to pay in child support?

A: Divorce law is established by each state. Often the results are similar, but they take different approaches to get there. To further confuse matters, they often have different terms for the same things. Alimony and child support are addressed separately.

Child support may be statutory, as in Florida, meaning there are guidelines with forms that allow people to fill them out and know exactly what will be awarded. Of course, the exact amount may vary some. In states without statutory guidelines, there are rules of thumb based on what judges have awarded in the past. Sometimes these are fixed, and sometimes they are guesswork.

In Florida, a couple making $5,000 a month with one child would pay $1,000 a month in child support. With two children, the couple would pay $1,551 per month. That amount might be added to for child care expenses, health care costs or insurance. The parties would figure out the total figure and divide it in a ratio to the percentage of income for each party.

If one party makes all the money, they would be responsible for all the payment. If one party makes $2,000 and the other makes $3,000, they would divide expenses at 40 percent and 60 percent. Obviously, the person who receives child support doesn’t write themselves a check. But because each state’s laws are different, it’s best to check with yours to confirm these details.

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