Child support is money paid by one parent to the other for the benefit of the children. This money helps ensure the child will share in the lifestyle of both parents. By law, the amount of child support must be determined by calculating "guideline" child support using computer software.
Once the court calculates guideline child support, it has almost no discretion to vary from the guidelines. It must order that amount. The amount of child support to be ordered is based upon a number of factors. These include:
•· The number of children
•· Each parent's tax filing status
•· Each parent's income
•· The percentage of time each parent spends with the children
•· Any allowable deductions
Child Support Add-Ons
In addition to guideline child support, the court must order what is termed "add-ons." Each parent will be required to pay one-half of any uncovered medical bills and one-half of any work-related daycare expenses. The court will also order each parent to maintain health insurance for the minor children if it is available at little or no cost to that parent. Child support orders do not include an obligation to share in the cost of extracurricular activities, school supplies, the children's clothing, or private school tuition.
Duration of Child Support
Child support orders terminate when: each child is eighteen (18) years old and a high school graduate or reaches age nineteen (19) years old and is still a full-time high school student living with a parent; upon the death of the child; upon emancipation; or order of the court, whichever occurs first. After child support ends, there is no obligation for a parent to help support a child attending college or to help pay college tuition.