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What if I believe child support guidelines are inappropriate?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Family Law

In Mississippi family law cases, it is imperative for the parents to remember their children and focus on their needs. It can be difficult to do during a divorce as there are a litany of concerns that come to the forefront, but children are innocent bystanders and need to be cared for.

Part of that is deciding how much child support will be paid. There are guidelines dictating how much support will be paid based on myriad factors. That includes the parents’ income, the child’s needs and more.

However, not every case is the same and the guidelines might not be appropriate for all situations. In cases in which a parent believes the guidelines are inappropriate, it is important to understand the law for deviating from them. This is true from the perspective of the paying parent and the receiving parent.

Child support guidelines can be questioned

From the start, the support guidelines will be used as a starting point to determine how much child support will be paid. That can be overcome if the situation warrants it. Once the criteria for using the guideline has been overcome, the support order can be modified accordingly.

For example, if the child has extraordinary medical needs, then that could be addressed by increasing the child support amount from what it would have been if the guidelines were followed. The same is true if the child has income of their own and contributes to the family with it. Some parents’ income varies based on circumstances. If the parent has a higher income because they work seasonally or own a business that does better at certain times of the year, then this too can be addressed in the support order.

The custody and parenting time agreement might be a factor. For example, not every case involves the child being with the custodial parent during the week and the noncustodial parent having the child two weekends per month. The template can vary with the noncustodial parent who has extensive time with the child paying more than they otherwise would. This too can be sufficient to justify a change from what the guidelines mandate.

These are just some of the reasons why a child support order might deviate from the guidelines. There are many others. Parents need to remember the needs of the child come first.