Updates to the Federal Child Support Guidelines
On November 22, 2017, updates to the Federal Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines”) came into effect. These updates reflect recent amendments to the tax rules.
Support payors should be aware that the recent updates increase obligations under the category of basic table amount of support. As of November 22, 2017, child support will be calculated according to the new table with its higher numbers for child support. However, if any arrears or retroactive support are owed for the period between December 31, 2011 and November 21, 2017, the 2011 Tables still apply.
The Guidelines provide a simple way for parents and courts to quantify monthly child support obligations. They take the mystery out of the process of determining an appropriate amount of child support by instilling efficiency and consistency. Generally, the Guidelines do this by taking into account the number of children that require support, and the gross income of the payor parent. The table offered in the Guidelines determines support for payors that earn up to $150,000.00 – beyond which courts can either increase or decrease the support obligation if the table amount is inappropriate. This means that any increase in a support payor’s income should translate to an increase in the support payor’s total amount of support owed.
It is important to note that according to the Guidelines, a payor’s income is determined by looking at his/her income tax returns and notices of assessments for the previous three years. Courts also take into account paystubs, bank statements, and confirmation of assets, debts and liabilities. Depending on the circumstances, many avenues are available to court to determine a payor’s income.
Further, the recent updates do not affect special or extraordinary expenses under section 7 of the Guidelines. Special expenses are considered “add-ons” and are paid in addition to basic table amount of support. Those expenses are determined by sharing the expense between the parents in proportion to their incomes.
The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice.