What Factors Affect Child Support Payments?
Child support is a frequently brought-up topic in any paternity divorce matter. There are several factors that are used by the courts when calculating child support payments.
The two most significant are:
- Gross income of the parties (before taxes)
- The number of overnights that each parent has in any given year
Other factors that affect child support payments include the number of children, childcare expenses, out-of-pocket healthcare costs, and insurance premiums for the child.
If We Have 50/50 Time, Why Am I Paying Child Support?
This is a common question. Well, if the parties have the same or similar income and you have 50/50 time, each of you has an equal number of overnights, then there would be no child support obligation. Unless there are childcare expenses or premiums or something else that’s significant further down in the computation.
But generally speaking, that holds true.
Now, where you would end up paying if you have 50/50 time is if one party’s gross income is significantly more than the other. If someone makes $5,000 gross a month and the other party makes $2,500, even with equal time, the parent earning $5,000 is going to pay.
If you want to revisit your current child support payment arrangement, contact a child support attorney in Oklahoma to learn your options.
Parenting Credits, Overnights, and Possible Issues
Since you both split parenting responsibilities 50/50, your child support obligations may be significantly reduced. That’s called a shared-parenting credit.
The shared-parenting credit is determined by your number of overnights, which are the number of 12-hour (or more) days spent with your children. The shared parenting credit starts at 121 overnights a year.
An issue that often arises in child support disputes is when a parent wants to increase their number of overnights. Because they know they’ll receive a reduction in child support, they want to push for more overnights than they’ve exercised historically. Overnights that they can actually exercise, because of work or distance from the child.
This can lead to a situation where they want just the reduction in money, rather than spending quality time with the child. That’s a conversation you need to have with your attorney and listen to your attorney about what your motivations actually are because that can come out in some different ways to the other side or to the court and hurt you.
Other Child Support Issues
The other thing that can happen is, people will want to use one as leverage against the other. For example, they will agree to a visitation schedule if child support is waived by the other party. There are some statutory requirements that the court has to follow in order to waive child support in any case, but it is possible.
And sometimes the court will decline the waiver. So, let’s say you have an agreement for a certain visitation schedule and the parents say, “Yes, that’s in the best interest of the child. That schedule is good. We’ve also agreed to waive child support.” And one party’s motivation for following that schedule is actually not having to pay child support. That’s why they want it. Well, you get into court and the judge says, “I’m not waving child support.” That can happen.
And then the other party, all of a sudden, says “Well that schedule now is not in the best interest of the child, in my opinion.” The judge can see that – it doesn’t need to be spoken and that can also hurt you.
Free Consultation with a Child Support Lawyer in Bartlesville
That is what you need to know. Obviously, with long-lasting effects of any child support computation, 18 years, you may be paying, it’s important to have an attorney review the computation you’re going to enter if you’re proceeding pro se, just to ensure that it’s correct. Small differences like $50 a month can add up. Let’s say there’s 10 years left until the child reaches legal adulthood – $50 a month; that’s $600 a year; times 10, that’s $6,000 over 10 years. It makes sense, certainly to pay a couple hundred dollars to an attorney at minimum to have them review the computation and maybe save you a lot more down the road.
For a free consultation with a Bartlesville child support attorney, call Wirth Law Office – Bartlesville today at (918) 213-0950, or fill out the short form at the top right of this page. Regardless of how you contact us, a Bartlesville family lawyer will be in touch with you shortly.