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How does the court determine child support?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Divorce

Child support ensures that children receive financial support from both parents, even if the parents are not together. In Delaware, the court uses specific guidelines to determine the amount of child support.

The process involves several steps to ensure that the support meets the child’s needs and that both parents contribute fairly.

Considering the parents’ incomes

According to the CDC, the divorce rate in Delaware is 2.6 per 1,000 couples. The court looks at the income of both parents. This includes wages, salaries, bonuses and any other sources of income. The court considers both gross and net income.

Evaluating the child’s needs

Next, the court examines the needs of the child. This includes basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter. The court also considers additional expenses such as medical care, education and extracurricular activities. The goal is to maintain the child’s standard of living as closely as possible to what it would have been if the parents were together.

Using the Delaware Child Support Formula

The court uses a formula known as the Delaware Child Support Formula. This formula takes into account the incomes of both parents and the number of children needing support. The formula also considers the time each parent spends with the child. If one parent has primary custody, the other parent usually pays more in child support. If both parents share custody equally, the court adjusts the support accordingly.

Adjusting for custody and special circumstances

Adjustments may also occur based on special circumstances. For instance, if a child has special needs requiring additional care or resources, the court may increase the child support amount. Conversely, if a parent faces significant financial hardship, the court may reduce the amount of support.

Issuing and modifying child support orders

The court issues a child support order based on these calculations and considerations. This order specifies the amount of support and the payment schedule. Parents must follow this order unless they request a modification. To request a modification, a parent must show a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a substantial increase in income.

Delaware family courts make sure that the children of divorced parents receive proper care.