The court uses guidelines from the state to figure out how much child support you will get.
First, the court looks at the parents’ combined net weekly income, which is the total amount both parents take home in their pay each week.
For example, if each parent takes home $500 per week, then their combined net weekly income is $1,000.
Then the court uses the guidelines to figure out the basic child support obligation, which is the percentage of the parents’ total income that should be used to support the children.
The basic child support obligation for parents earning $1,000 per week is
- $229 (or about 23%) of the combined net weekly income for 1 child,
- $322 (or about 32%) for 2 children, and
- $385 (or about 39%) for 3 children.
The percentages used in this example are for parents earning $1,000 per week, and they will be different for parents who earn more or less than $1,000. The State publishes the guidelines online, and you can use the chart to look up the support obligation for your situation.
Next, the court looks at how much each parent contributes to the combined net weekly income.
Since the parents in our example take home the same amount of money each week, they each contribute 50% of the combined net weekly income. In this example, each parent would be responsible for 50% of the costs to raise the children. So the parent who has to pay child support would pay 50% of the basic child support obligation, or half of
- $229 for 1 child,
- $322 for 2 children, and
- $385 for 3 children.
Note: The court may order more support for health expenses or child care.
Please remember that this is just an example. The cost of child support will depend on each parent’s income and situation.