Many states offer child support guides that are designed to help judges make decisions about child support amounts based on income, number of children, ages and other factors. While California judges can rely on child support guides to make rulings on this important subject, they can also consider other factors in setting the amount lower or higher. In fact, judges have a great deal of latitude when it comes to child support amounts.
Should judges always concern themselves with child support guides or simply go on their own instincts? What factors affect how a judge views the appropriate child support amount? The Men’s Legal Center tries to help clients find answers to these important questions and reduce child support amounts when possible and appropriate.
How Much Child Support Should I Pay?
The child support amount the judge includes in your divorce order is based on several factors, including your income, the child’s needs and the relative income of your former spouse. When a man has been the primary breadwinner for the family and his wife does not work, it is possible that he will pay up to 15 percent of his gross income for child support each month. Of course, this does not include extras like health insurance, school costs and other expenses that may lessen the cash amount paid each month.
The guidelines change slightly for couples with more than one child. While a man could be ordered to pay 12 percent of his income for one child, he will not pay 24 percent for two children. Instead, the man may be ordered to pay 20 percent of his gross income, or relatively ten percent per child.
How Can I Adjust the Amount of My Child Support?
It is very important that during the negotiation stage of your divorce settlement you take credit for everything you are paying. If you regularly pay for something as relatively minor as your kids’ school lunches you should claim this, as it can help to offset the overall cost of your child support obligation.
This is particularly true if you pay for more expensive items like your children’s school tuition or even regular deposits to a savings fund for their college. While the judge does not have to consider this type of payment, many judges will. In most cases, however, you are more likely to see benefit from these payments during the negotiation process for your divorce settlement.
Contact Men’s Legal Center to discuss your divorce and child support issues.