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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Child Support Guidelines


Term Definition Child Support Guidelines - a series of mathematical formulas and guidelines that help derive the proper amount of child support based on income.
Application in Divorce All states are required to have guidelines for child support.

Courts, however, may deviate from the guidelines when the noncustodial parent can afford to pay more, when the guideline produces more than is needed, when the noncustodial parent cannot pay, when a child has special considerations, or when the paying parent is slacking.

The guidelines are in place for the parents and the court to have a standardized approach to arriving at an adequate monthly support amount that will be the basis of maintaining a living standard for the child that is as close as possible to that which existed prior to the divorce.

The child support guidelines for each state are updated on a periodic basis as deemed appropriate by the state law committee in place. The guidelines will be adjusted from time to time to reflect an increase in the cost of living and more significantly when new laws are adapted regarding child support.

Most states have separate guidelines to follow depending on the situation. For example, split custody arrangements will warrant a different calculation than that of a sole or shared custody arrangement.

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