Child support is the financial contribution that one parents makes to the other parent of the child for support of their children. Child support may be ordered when the parents are separated either in a divorce, dissolution of marriage, paternity, and legal separation cases. If it is established that a parent has to pay child support, the court determines how much child support must be paid to allow the child to enjoy the same standard of living that he or she would as if the parents remained married to together as a family.

Establishment, modification, and enforcement of child support may be done through the court or the Child Support Enforcement Agency.

What Is Child Support Deviation?

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.

How Is Child Support Deviation Determined?

In states that allow child support deviation, there are several factors that courts generally consider in deciding to grant it.  These factors that are considered in whether to deviate the child support include:

  • Whether or not sticking to the standard child support formula would be unfair,
  • If the deviation is 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;
  • The available financial assistance from the current spouse or domestic partner of each party.

Why Do Parents Seek Child Support Deviation?

The most common reason that a parent seeks to deviate or modify the agreed child support agreement is because the current child support agreement is unfair or unjust  or is not in the best interest of the child. As discussed, courts try to allow the child to live a life that is standard as if the parents never divorced. Therefore, if the current child support agreement has become unfair because of some unanticipated events or expenses, then the parent may seek to deviate the child support agreement.

Should I Contact a Family Lawyer?

If you have issues with your child support agreement, it will be in your best interest to consult a child support lawyer. Your attorney will help you understand your situation better and will work with you to change child support obligations if possible.