In general, child support refers to the periodic payments made from one parent to the other to help them provide financially for their shared child. Child support payments are necessary because raising a child can be very expensive.

Therefore, these payments can help to offset the costs associated with rearing a child. They are paid to the custodial parent approximately once a month.

Child support payments are calculated by using a number of different things. Usually, a family law court will determine the amount required for child support payments. The court does this by assessing certain factors and evaluating the needs of each individual child. 

Next, the court will review a particular set of guidelines that are specifically used for calculating child support payments. Every state has their own set of guidelines to determine payment amounts.

Finally, the court will require each parent to fill out a financial statement that provides their monthly income and expenses. The court will apply a formula that takes into account the financial statements, as well as the amount of time that each parent spends with the child. In special circumstances, the court may also consider “add-on” expenses.

What are Spousal Support Payments and How are They Calculated?

Spousal support, also known as alimony, are payments made to one spouse by the other spouse in the event of a divorce or legal separation. These payments help to cover the basic needs of a former or separated spouse, such as clothing and food. 

Similar to child support payments, alimony is also calculated by using a variety of factors. There are different types of alimony, which can affect how the final amount is calculated. A court will generally decide whether alimony is necessary, how much should be paid to a spouse, and when those payments should end.

The court will determine the amount using particular factors, such as the financial background of each spouse and their contributions to marital assets. In some states, a federal law known as the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA), sets the required amount for spousal support payments.   

When Should I Consider Using Experts to Determine Child and Spousal Support Payments?

You should strongly consider using an expert in complex or high-asset family law cases. Experts can be valuable consultants when it comes to determining child support payments or spousal support payments in divorce cases.

The primary concern that deters most people from hiring an expert is how much they may cost. An attorney can help to find an expert who is qualified and possibly more affordable or within your budget range.

What Types of Experts Help to Determine Child and Spousal Support Payments?

Depending on the circumstances of the case, there are many different experts to consult regarding child and spousal support payments. The types of experts that are most commonly used include the following:

  • Family Economists: This kind of expert is hired to determine accurate living costs, which are based on the cost of living;
  • Financial Analysts: Financial analysts help manage assets and can create support payment plans;
  • Health Care Professionals: Health care professionals are generally used to prove whether or not a spouse can work due to an illness or handicap; and 
  • Vocational Training Counselors: These particular experts assist unemployed spouses in finding work, which can eventually lead to modifying the amount needed for support payments. 

Again, these are just some of the types of experts that a spouse may hire to help determine child and spousal support payments. An attorney may be able to provide other recommendations that are better suited for a particular case.

How Can I Find an Expert?

One place to find an expert is by contacting your local university or college. Almost every type of expert that was previously mentioned can be found at an academic institution. Additionally, an expert from a local educational organization, will most likely be able to provide the lowest cost for their services. 

Other possibilities include contacting a national association to search for highly accredited experts, and requesting help from book authors. While these options are expensive, they may be worth the quality of the expert you receive in return. This is especially true for claims involving complicated legal issues, or cases in which large sums of money may be in dispute.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help Find an Expert?

Consulting an experienced family law attorney can be extremely useful in helping you decide whether you need an expert and how to go about finding one. It is often the case that such experts have been employed by attorneys in the past. Thus, it is likely that your attorney will simply be able to request their services again to assist with your case.   

If you are having trouble finding an expert to calculate your support payments or have any questions about experts, you should consider contacting a family lawyer for guidance.