Child-support is based on statutory guidelines whereby the court wants to award support for the minor children. They use the statutory guideline, however, that can be subject to deviation. For one minor child, the statutory percentage of support would be 20% of someone’s net income. If there are two children, that number increases to 28% of the payer’s net income. For three children, it’s 32% of the net income; for four children, it’s 40% of the net income; for five children, it’s 45% of the net income and for six or more children, it’s 50% of the net income. Now, the net income is less any type of tax, whether it be federal, state, FICA, Medicare and any mandatory retirement that has to go in. An attorney wants to make sure that the person is not deducting from his or her pay deductions that don’t qualify to be deducted in terms of child support.
Now, in many cases, you have someone who is making an excessive amount of money and the statutory state guidelines seem to be out of line. For example, if you have an athlete that is making $2 million per year and has one child, 20% of $2 million a year is an excessive amount of money to go towards child-support. Remember, child-support is for the roof over the head, the clothing on the back, and the food and any other necessity that the child has. Child-support is not to maintain a particular lifestyle or to provide a windfall for the person receiving child-support. After all, the money is going to go towards the spouse that has custody of the child, not directly to the child. So the spouse receiving the support has broad discretion on how to spend that money.
But child-support is obviously very important. The state has an obligation as do parents to make sure that the children are being provided for. And child-support guidelines are just that; they are guidelines. You can deviate upward; you can deviate downward with cause. However, in most cases, the judges are going to try and keep the statutory guidelines in place for child support for the benefit of the minor children.