The Child Support payment and responsibilities are usually decided on a case by case basis through the state trial court. Although it can be discussed and agreed by the parties privately. The Child Support payment is determined by the income and resources of the parents, this also includes the amount of time the parents can spend with their child.
The state follows a basic formula to calculate the obligation of the parent. The three basic formulas are:
• Percentage of Income Model: The child support is determined by the income of the non-custodial parent. The court already assumed that the parent under custody is already spending more money on their child or children.
• Income Shares Model: The child support payment is divided between the parents to resemble the level of support of what they should be if they were sharing equally the family expenses or living under one roof together.
• The Melson Formula: This formula is another version of the Income Shares model. However, their difference is prior to determining the obligations of the parents in child support, there are several criteria to consider. The criteria include the adjustments in the standards of living, such as an increase in the income of the parent.
The state includes supplementary criteria in calculating the payment for child support. The additional criteria are:
• Quality of life: The court will assess the living conditions of the family before their divorce or marital separation. If the court decides, the parent who is responsible for the child support will maintain a certain lifestyle.
• Associated expenses: The court will determine the expenses associated when raising a child in a certain area. The expenses will vary from the area the child is living. For example, if the child lives in a place with a high cost of living, the parent will be obligated to pay a higher amount of living.
• Specific needs: If the child has a physical injury, a mental disability, or any special needs, the child will require a higher amount of child support.
• Financial resources available to the custodial parent: The obligations of the non-custodial parent can be reduced when the custodial parent has a sufficient resource or income to compensate for the obligated support.
• Medical support: The Child Support Enforcement agency files a petition to the court to include a child medical support if there is an employment-related or health insurance at a reasonable price.
When the court has already set the amount of child support payment, it can only be changed by the court official or through a legal action. The child support order can be reviewed every three years for the parents to ensure that their obligations remain fair and there is no substantial change in the situation of either of the parents.
When a noncustodial parent loses a job, he or she can file a petition to the court to temporarily reduce the support payments until his or her financial situation has improved.