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How child support is determined

It's a sad fact, but children are often the innocent victims of divorce. Through no fault of their own, they often get caught in the middle of two warring parents who must decide where the child will live, how he or she will be raised and how much child support will be paid. Deciding these things can be of paramount importance to the future of the child's life and often make the difference between being well-adjusted and having lingering psychological and/ or emotional issues.

As such, the amount a parent will pay in child support is carefully and meticulously considered based on the best interests of the child. While every state has different rules governing these calculations, they almost all base the final amount on the income of both the parent who is paying support and the one who is receiving it.

But what is considered income? Is it just the main monthly paychecks of each parent? This is where it can get complicated. The income that's considered for determining child support can come from a host of sources:

  • Any benefits the parents receive from the government will be taken into consideration.
  • If either parent has a pension from work, that will be factored into the calculations.
  • Annuities and monies received from estate plans, like inheritances, may change the amount of support.
  • If either parent has received a gift or prize money, that will make an impact on the total.

Of course, having an attorney by your side throughout the process can be an invaluable asset, regardless of whether you're the payee or the payer of child support.

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