Child Support Info

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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It is very important to recognize up front that child support info that is applicable in one state won't necessarily be applicable in another. Each state interprets and applies the elements of the federal guidelines on child support--shared custody, parental income, child care expenses, healthcare expenses, possible deductions from parental income, and other costs--differently. Because they do, the only reliable child support info for you will be that specific to your state.

You can find a wealth of reliable child support info online. One source is federal websites, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement. Individual state departments and offices are also resources for the specifics of child support info as it will apply to you. If you find these websites too confusing or not easily navigable, there are plenty of other online forums and compendiums that offer all the legal forms, resources, and advice you need.

What Are Some of the Variables in Child Support Info?

The terms used in reference to child support are worth noting. You will encounter many of them and their interpretations and implications will vary from state to state. They include arrearages, assignment of support rights, consent agreements, the long arm statute, noncustodial parent, and visitation rights, to name a few.

Perhaps at the top of the terminology list is the interpretation of the word custody. Given that custody is the basis on which child support payments are made, how it is defined is significant. Two states define it in terms of days, some as a percentage of the year, some as a percentage of time, still others as overnight visitation. Right behind the meaning of custody itself is the determination as to whether two parents share it or whether one has what is known as "extraordinary visitation." There are three ways that this determination can be made. One is if both parents have equal time with the child. Another is if one has time greater than a qualifying amount, perhaps 20 to 40 percent.

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