Raising a child can be costly. Many parents save up money when expanding their family. When parents split, these finances do not go away. In fact, they can become more burdensome for one parent versus the other. In matters where one parent takes on the custodial role, the non-custodial parent will likely need to provide child support. This financial obligation helps ensure that the child’s necessities are covered up until they have reached the age of majority.
Child support guidelines
While there is no handbook on how to perfectly raise a child, there are guidelines when it comes to the needs and costs associated with raising a child. And when a child support matter comes to the courts in Mississippi, they look towards the child support guidelines to help them establish what an appropriate order would be in the situation.
In order to determine how much a non-custodial parent will pay in child support, their income must be determined. The state of Mississippi looks at the parent’s adjusted gross income. This is their income, which is the total of any form of earned income, minus any deductions, such as taxes, social security, retirement and disability contributions, and any previous child support orders. The court will also consider whether the non-custodial parent is a custodial parent of another child, as this impacts their income.
Standard support awards
Once adjusted gross income is established, the percentage of the parent’s adjusted gross income is based on the number of children owed support by this order. For example, if there is just one child, this is 14% of their adjusted gross income. This increases to 20% if there are two children. The percentage increases as the number of children increases; however, it stops at 5, stating that if there are five or more children, the percentage of their income awarded for child support is 26%.
It is possible to deviate from the standard support awards outlined above. One reason is if the court finds that applying these guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. Finally, if the adjusted gross income is more than $100,000 or less than $10,000, it is possible to deviate from these standards.
Whether you are requesting child support or are being asked to pay child support, it is important to understand the laws and guidelines that apply to this. While it may not be an easy family law matter to navigate, it is one that is imperative, as it helps meet the best interests of the child or children involved.