How will the court determine if I or my ex-spouse owe child support?

Parents have an obligation to take care of their child’s needs. Accordingly, child support is the right of the child, not a right of the parent. Thus, it is very rare for the court to not enter a child support order once a case is filed with the court for either divorce, custody (allocation of parental responsibilities), paternity, or child support. So the question most typically is not whether one parent will be required to pay child support, but instead how much will one parent be required to pay in child support.

The amount that either you or the other parent will be required to pay in child support depends on multiple factors. The primary factors that have the biggest impact on the determination of child support are 1) the number of overnights (parenting time) that each parent has with the child; and 2) each parents’ adjusted gross incomes. On rare occasion, parties may split parenting time essentially equally and also have very similar or nearly equal incomes. In such a circumstance, neither parent may have to pay child support.

It is important to note that whether a parent will have to pay child support is not something the court takes into consideration in determining how much parenting time is in the best interest of the child. Rather, parenting time is typically first established and then child support is determined as a result of the parenting time order. If you are concerned about your potential child support obligation, you should speak with an experienced child support attorney regarding your current situation.

If you are interested in speaking to one of the attorneys at Smith & Shellenberger, LLC, regarding your child support issue, please contact us at (303) 255-3588.