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Child Support Generally

Both parents owe a duty to support their children, but actual awards of child support from one parent to the other are determined through the use of a statutory formula, which balances incomes and overnights and who is paying allowable expenses such as health insurance premiums. Because child support depends on things like what someone’s income is or the number of overnights, sometimes parents will not be able to agree on, for example, what should count as income and what should not. Generally, courts do not deviate from the ‘guideline’ amount of child support unless there are unusual circumstances.

Once there is a child support order, it remains in effect until the court changes it or all the children emancipate. Courts will consider making changes to a child support order if there is a continuing and substantial change in financial circumstances of a party which results in a change of 10% or more in the presumed amount of child support.

The court requires support of a normal and healthy child until the age of 19 or until a child emancipates which can happen if they marry or join the military. It may be possible to continue support beyond this age for a child with a mental or physical disability.

Upon request of either party, the court will order the child support payments be made through the Family Support Registry. If the spouse fails to pay the required amounts of support, an income garnishment can be issued for all arrearages and all future payments or a Citation for Contempt of Court can be issued upon application.