If you and your spouse decide to get divorced, what will happen to your children may be one of your top concerns. There are many considerations to make when figuring out child custody, including determining child support. If necessary, the court may order the “non-custodial” parent to pay a certain amount in order to continue supporting your children to be used for various expenses involved in raising them such as medical care, entertainment and other necessities.

However, figuring out the amount that should be paid is an important but sometimes confusing process. There are several factors involved in determining this.

Child Support Criteria

Child support payments are determined state by state and can vary. However, there are a few guidelines that most states follow when determining payment amounts including:

  • Financial needs of the child/children (education, day care, insurance etc.)
  • Income of the custodial parent
  • Income/ability to pay of the paying parent
  • Standard of living of the child/children prior to divorce

The courts may require you to detail your financial situation in order to get a better idea of the expenses that will occur. The courts usually also consider “net income,” of the paying parent, which means they subtract out any mandatory deductions such as taxes or Social Security in order to determine their ability to pay support. Child support orders may also be modified should either parent’s financial situation change significantly.

If you believe you qualify for child support payments from your ex-spouse, you may want to talk to your attorney. An experienced family law attorney can give you a better idea of your situation and help you ensure you are receiving a fair deal.