Child Support before Divorce

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Divorce is a time consuming procedure. At the same time, a parent is in need to be paid child support till the finalization of the divorce takes place. When the partners seeking divorce cannot agree with one another regarding the support amount, the court has the authority to issue a temporary order of support. This order can be enforced before the finalization of the divorce takes place i.e. till the permanent support order is awarded.

Documents essential for Child Support before Divorce

The following documents are essential to obtain a temporary order of support.

  • Proof of the non custodial parent's (NCP) income. This may be in one of the following forms
    • The adverse party's check stubs
    • Through client testimony
    • Records subpoenaed from the adverse party's W-2's
    • Records subpoenaed from the adverse party's employer
  • A notice of income withholding for support
  • A 13.3 financial affidavit which the client has completed and signed
  • The Uniform Order for Support - 1 original and 3 copies
  • A notice of motion to the NCP or the lawyer of the NCP
  • A petition for temporary child support that is signed

Along with the petition and notice of motion, it is advisable to send a 'notice to produce' as per Rule 237.

Determination of Child Support before Divorce

The intention of the temporary support order is to cater to the costs of the child while the divorce proceeding is in progress. These costs are inclusive of those for education, medical care, clothing, housing and food. All the 50 states in the US permit a parent to take the benefits of this support. Some states call this as 'pendente lite' order.

Each state has devised its own laws regarding determination of the amount of this award. However, the general factors are as follows.

  • Expenses of the child
  • Which parent has custody of the child?
  • The number of children and their ages
  • The income and assets of both the parents

Some states calculate the support amount as follows.

  • The gross income of the NCP's paycheck is taken into account
  • Taxes are deducted from this income
  • Health insurance figures and mandatory union dues are subtracted from the previous figure
  • Deductions for repayment of a loan or for a credit union need not be deducted from the previous figure. These are regarded as income of the NCP
  • The expenses of the NCP have no significance in this calculation
  • The guidelines are employed to find the child support amount that is pertinent to the figure obtained after above deductions
  • The judge is free to state a valid reason in the support order for adjusting the support payment to a value that is more than or less than the amount indicated by the guidelines

An arbitrary example of the statutory guidelines has been furnished below.

Number of children Percent of net income
1 20
2 28
3 32
4 40
5 45
6 50

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