Under the new child support law, which just became effective in January 2011, did you know that there are certain circumstances where a person will have to pay more child support when they have 20% or more of the overnights than they would if they had less overnights? It has to do with math and the child support guidelines statute. Typically, this situation only occurs when there is a significant difference in the two parties’ incomes (one party has little or no income, and the other makes $4,000.00 or more), and when the overnights are between 73 (20%) and 90 (24.7%). In this circumstance, the parent who is required to pay child support would be required to actually pay MORE child support for having 80 annual overnights, than they would if they only had 70. For example, with $4,000.00 monthly gross income for one parent, $800.00 monthly gross for the other, and 80 overnights annually for the higher earning parent, child support would be $778.64 per month and with 70 overnights, it would only be $708.26. So, it’s as if the paying parent is actually penalized for spending more time with their child! Hardly fair, and many would argue that it is unconstitutional as well.
When this situation arises in a divorce or child support case, there are potential arguments that can be made and motions that can be filed in order to eliminate the unfair increase and deviate from the child support guidelines, but really, the legislature needs to fix this glitch in the new child support calculations. Wouldn’t you agree?