Child Support Calculator Laws

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What is a Child Support Calculator? 

Child support calculators are online websites that attempt to generate a figure for child support amounts.  They generally work by asking the user to enter in each parent’s income.  The child support calculator will then generate an approximate amount for child support based on those incomes. 

Each state has different child support laws, so each child support calculator will usually follow state-specific guidelines. 

Are Online Child Support Calculators Accurate?

While many child support calculator websites may provide an overall approximation for figures, they are never entirely accurate.  There are several reasons for this.  First, they can’t take other child support factors into consideration, such as if the child has special medical or educational needs.  These types of factors require a more in-depth analysis and are usually best handled by a judge on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, the user might not always be able to obtain a completely accurate figure for the other party’s income.  This is especially true if the other party has other sources of income or other assets that they have not disclosed.  In a formal legal proceeding, it’s much more difficult for either party to hide or conceal assets. 

Also, online child support calculators might not be able to fully incorporate state provisions and guidelines, especially for more complex arrangements like joint custody or split custody. 

Can the Results from Child Support Calculators be Used as Legal Advice?

It is not advisable to use the results from an online child support calculator as legal advice.  In fact, most of these websites have a disclaimer that reads “For educational or instructional purposes only”, or “This does not constitute legal advice”.  As such, you should not fully rely on these types of tools when creating a child support agreement or when seeking child support in connection with divorce.

Instead, the best route is to file a formal request with the court seeking a child support determination.  The court system is in a much better position to create a full and accurate estimation of the child’s needs.  You should also consult with a lawyer in order to address the various legal issues that might be connected with child support.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Child Support Calculations?

Calculating child support is a very complex matter that generally requires the assistance of a qualified family law attorney.  You may wish to contact an experienced attorney in your area if you need help with child support, child custody, or other related legal issues.  Your lawyer will be able to advise you of the laws in your area, and can explain what rights you and your child may have in terms of child support.  Also, a lawyer can help you if you need to make adjustments or modifications to the child support order.

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Last Modified: 12-28-2012 03:50 PM PST

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