Under the current version of the law, child support is set strictly as a percentage of the non-custodial parent's net income. New child support laws were passed during the 2005 legislative session, though, which also consider the custodial parent's income and the amount of time the child(ren) spends with the non-custodial parent. This law takes effect in 2007.
The current law creates a presumptive amount of child support based on the number of children and the noncustodial parent's income. The court is obligated to impose this "guideline" amount of child support unless it makes written findings that a deviation from the guideline amount is in the best interest of the children.
The child support laws are applied differently in situations where the parties have joint physical custody of their children. With joint physical custody, the guideline obligations are calculated for both parents but are then reduced by the percentage of time that the child(ren) is with the other parent. These obligations are then offset, and the parent with the greater income will end up paying some amount of child support, but usually a much smaller amount than if the other parent had sole physical custody. The formula used to calculate this child support obligation is known as the Hortis-Valento formula.
Once a child support obligation has been set, either party may make a motion to have the award modified, but the moving party must be able to prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances justifying the modification. This usually means that the obligor must have experienced a significant increase or decrease in their net income.
Please contact McGraw Law Firm, P.A. for more information.