To establish predictability and consistency in the degree of child support awards, certain federal regulations are in place in the form of child support guidelines that is common to all states. Added to these, there can be state specific guidelines too. A fantastic divorce lawyer can tell you about these guidelines as they apply to your particular state. Here are the more important of the common guidelines.


In determining child support, the judge will consider the income derived by both parents. The proportion of the parents’ collective income, that every parent contributes, will determine the sum they are obliged to pay as child support, according to divorce attorneys.

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If one of the parents is paying alimony or child support from an earlier situation, he/she will be permitted to deduct that sum from their income. Such a parent is not permitted to deduct any amount from his/her income in support of a succeeding spouse or children.

Childcare costs

The court will take into account the sum that parents should spend on childcare, to work or seek work. Certain states adjust the sum allowed for such an expense to make up for any federal dependent care exemption on the federal income tax.

Healthcare expense

Child support always includes healthcare expenses and it must be determined which spouse should pay for the child’s health insurance costs. This amount is duly added to the primary child support order, then credited in the name of the parent who usually pays it. Unforeseen medical costs is also an important factor considered by the court.

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Other expenses

The basic support order might be increased to account for any unusual expenses such as specific educational requirements of either handicapped or gifted children. The expenses incurred in the form of visitation expenses such as travel for the child or parent is divided proportionately between the parents, according to their respective incomes. If you find this confusing or hard to understand you can consult a divorce lawyer to determine what could be included as miscellaneous expenses.

Shared custody & visitation

Many of the guidelines, both federal and state, account for the degree of time the kids spend with either parent to decide on the sum of money for child support. This is because the more time the kids spend together with the non-custodial parent, the more the expenses that the parent spends in support of the kids. In the case of shared custody and visitation, the amount awarded as child support can be much less than in the case of sole custody and no visitation.

For the most part, the court may consider the guidelines in the case of child support. However, since every case is unique and there are several extenuating factors involved in determining such issues, the court may increase or decrease the amount. If child support is a major concern, the right thing to do is to hire a legal expert well versed in family law. This is the best way to ensure that your child’s future is secured financially.