Child support is money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the support of the children. Child support has two part: basic child support, and the so-called “extras”. The basic child support payment covers food, clothing, and shelter.
Basic child support is based on a formula. Basically, you take the non-custodial parent’s income, reduce it by FICA (social security taxes and medicare taxes) and then multiply it by a percentage to arrive at the yearly child support obligation of the non-custodial parent. The percentages used as: one child: 17%, two children: 25%, three children: 29%, four children: 31%; five or more children: no less than 35%. As an example, the non-custodial parent earns a gross salary of $65,000 a year and there are two children. The custodial parent earns $30,000 per year. The non-custodial parent’s income of $65,000 is reduced by $4,972.50 for FICA, and for the purpose of child support calculations is $60,027.50. Multiply that by 25% and the yearly child support obligation of the non-custodial parent is $17,407.98, or $1,450.66 per month. The income of the custodial parent does not change that calculation.
The “extras” are not entirely extra, but they are calculated differently. They include health insurance for the children, after-school activities, and so forth. Typically they are allocated between the the parents based on the ratio of their respective incomes. In our example here, the non-custodial parent’s share of the combined income is 68% and the custodial parent’s share is 32%. In mediation people often use a different formula, and 50/50 is not uncommon.
One of the benefits of a mediated divorce rather than a litigated one is that you have much more flexibility in making the child support numbers fit your circumstances.
Custody has two aspect: legal and residential. Legal custody refers to making major decisions about the child’s life. Residential custody refers to where the children live most of the time. The residential custodial parent is entitled to child support. Ordinarily the residential custodial parent’s home address is the address for the child’s school enrollment.