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Basics of Child Support Calculations

Child support calculations can often be confusing and overwhelming for parents navigating the complexities of family law. At Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC, we understand the importance of providing tangible and useful tips to address common issues that arise during this process. In this blog, we will delve into the basics of child support calculations, providing you with valuable insights and resources to help you make informed decisions.

Income Calculation

Child support calculations typically begin with an assessment of both parents' incomes. This includes not only wages and salaries but also other sources of income like rental income, investments, or even self-employment income. In some cases, imputed income may be used if a parent is found to be intentionally unemployed or underemployed to avoid child support obligations.

Determining Gross vs. Net Income

The method for calculating income can vary by jurisdiction. In some places, child support is based on gross income (before taxes and deductions), while in others, it's calculated on net income (after taxes and deductions). Understanding which method is used in your jurisdiction is crucial.

Custody Arrangement

The custody arrangement, specifically the number of overnight stays each parent has with the child, is a significant factor in child support calculations. In most cases, the noncustodial parent (the one with fewer overnights) will be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.

Child Support Guidelines

Many jurisdictions have child support guidelines or formulas that provide a standard method for calculating child support based on the parents' incomes and the number of children involved. These guidelines aim to ensure consistency and fairness in child support awards.

Additional Expenses

Beyond the basic child support amount, parents may also be responsible for contributing to certain additional expenses. These expenses can include healthcare, child care, education, and extracurricular activities. Courts will often allocate these costs based on each parent's income share.

Deviation from Guidelines

While child support guidelines offer a standard calculation, courts may allow deviations from these guidelines in certain cases. Factors like special needs of the child, significant income disparities between parents, or extraordinary expenses may warrant a deviation.


Child support orders are not necessarily permanent. They can be modified when there are significant changes in circumstances, such as changes in income, health, or custody arrangements. It's essential to understand the process for requesting a modification if circumstances change.


Child support orders are legally binding, and failure to comply with them can result in legal consequences. Various enforcement mechanisms, such as wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and even incarceration, can be used to ensure compliance.

Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC Is Here for You

Bottom line, calculating child support can be a challenging process, but armed with the right knowledge and resources, parents can navigate it with confidence. We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights and tips to help you understand the basics of child support calculations. Remember, Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC is here to support you every step of the way. Contact our experienced family law attorneys for today to schedule a consultation and let our experienced attorneys guide you through the child support process.

Shemtob Draganosky Taylor Stein, PC is available by phone at (215) 544-3974 or you can just send us a message online.