Child Support


Guidelines Are Mandatory

Courts are required to follow the Guidelines. In practical terms, that means that any Court Order, including a Judgment of Divorce, must include a Child Support Guideline Worksheet. It will be the "sole custoey" or the "shared custody" form, depending on the amount of time the children spend with each parent. The purpose of the form is to satisfy the Court that the Child Support Guidelines are being followed.

You Can Deviate But You Must Explain Why

Parents can agree to any scheme or allocation of payment they so desire.  The Child Support Guidelines represent a point of view with which parents may agree or disagree.  Remember, however, it is your family, so you are free to disagree.  However, if you agree to pay less than the amounts mandated by the Guidelines, you will need to convince a Court that payment of amounts less than the Guidelines is in the "best interests of the children".  The children are not a party to your agreement, and it is the Court's responsibility to protect the children's interest in the payment of child support.  No explanation will be needed if you have agreed that an amount in excess of the Guidelines will be paid. But if it is less, you will need to provide the Court with a logical explanation. One parent may be disabled, in extreme financial straits or in the midst of a crisis (drug rehabilitation) that will justify a lesser payment. Or maybe parents  decide to contribute to a college fund in lieu of paying monthly child support in the required amount. Sometimes,  the non-custodial parent may be making payments for clothing, camp, lessons etc. etc. which can justify payments of basic child support less than the amounts mandated by the Guidelines.  The point is, if you decide to pay less, it must be justified.  A written explanation must be provided.  

The Guidelines-Here's The Whole Thing! Chart and All

Revised Guidelines 

Frequently Asked Questionjs About the New Guidelines

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