Child Support Deviation Factors

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In almost every state, child support is calculated using formulas set out in a statutory scheme. However, in limited cases, courts can deviate from the rigid formulas and set a different child support award.

Deviation is usually granted when adhering to the standard formula for child support would be highly unfair to the paying parent, and/or not in the best interests of the child. Generally, courts will place the best interests of the child over the financial comfort of the supporting parent, so an argument that sticking to the standard formula would not be in the child’s best interests is far more likely to succeed.

In states that allow child support deviation, there are several factors that courts generally consider in deciding to grant it.  These factors include whether or not sticking to the standard child support formula would be unfair, or not in the best interests of the child; the financial resources available to the child; the educational needs of the child; the physical and emotional conditions of the child; inflation and the cost of living; the financial needs of the supporting parent; whether the supporting parent has incurred debts that were out of his or her control; the existence of other persons dependant on the supporting spouse; and the available financial assistance from the current spouse or domestic partner of each party.

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Last Modified: 03-01-2012 03:01 PM PST

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