Maggio Law Firm, PC

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How much child support will I have to pay and for how long?

Mississippi law provides guidelines for family courts to determine how much a parent will need to pay in child support following his or her divorce proceedings. Generally, the law states non-custodial parents will be required to pay a percent of their income, and the percentage will increase based on how many children the parent shares with the ex-spouse.

In Mississippi, if you and your ex-spouse have one child, you will be required to pay 14 percent of your income. If you and your spouse have two children, your contribution goes up to 20 percent of your income. If you have three children, you will need to pay 22 percent, and four children is 24 percent. Five or more children will require you to pay 26 percent of your income.

As for how long you will need to pay, in Mississippi, parents must pay child support until their children reach the age of 21. However, a specific child support order issued by a judge might state a different age of emancipation. The age of emancipation might also occur at an earlier age if the child joins the military full time, gets married, is convicted of a felony or is forced to serve two or more years in jail.

Still, a parent can file a petition for a decrease in child support owed and or a cessation of child support under certain circumstances. For example, such a petition can be filed after the child is 18 years of age and stops going to school. Petitions can be filed when the child leaves the home of his or her custodial parent and gains full time employment and other living arrangements before becoming 21 years of age. Furthermore, if the child decides to live with another person without the paying parent's approval, then a petition for cessation of support can be submitted.

As with most family law issues, parents may want to seek assistance from a Mississippi divorce or family law attorney when it comes to protecting their rights in their child support cases.

Source: Mississippi Department of Human Services, "Determine Child Support Obligations," accessed Jan. 19, 2016

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