Family law cases can be legally and financially complex, especially when it comes to child support.
Each state has a different formula. Some of the formulas are quite complex. And getting it right is crucial.
A miscalculation could jeopardize the financial well-being of a child and could easily result in the loss of thousands of dollars over the duration of support.
The leading tool that professionals rely upon nationwide to calculate child support obligations quickly and accurately is Family Law Software.
This post describes the ways in which Family Law Software helps professionals with child support calculations.
Calculating the Correct Income for Child Support
Most states use available net income as a starting point for determining child support.
But before you grab the most recent W-2 statement or pay stub, stop. First, a paystub or W-2 does not include other income sources. It fails to disclose income from side gigs, cash tips, unemployment insurance benefits, rental income, or investment income, to name but a few.
The taxes shown on a paystub are also usually inaccurate. The taxes withheld from the paycheck could be too much (refund due) or too little (tax payment due) and therefore not the real tax picture. Family Law Software helps determine the real tax picture after any refund or payment, taking account of all sources of income, all deductions, and all tax credits.
This accuracy empowers the parties to make educated decisions and to finalize cases quickly and confidently.
Accurate Guideline Calculations
Calculating taxes and child support is challenging for many reasons, including the following:
- The tax laws are complex and change regularly.
- Each state has a different child support formula.
- Many states’ formulas have gray and complex areas.
Family Law Software’s team of lawyers and financial experts are dedicated to getting it right.
Family Law Software includes comprehensive federal tax calculations and estimates of state taxes based on all 50 state tax codes.
Then, using those tax numbers and the state statutes, Family Law Software calculates child support guidelines in the following 22 states: CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, MD, MA, MI, MO, MN, MS, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, VA, and WA.
Family Law Software is committed to generating reliable calculations that professionals can trust.
Quick and Complete Child Support Pages
The data entry page of Family Law Software for child support is very comprehensive, and, for that reason, it can be a bit daunting.
What if you just have a simple case, with wages, health insurance, child care, and not much else?
For those cases, we made Family Law Software’s “Quick” page. The “Quick” page enables rapid input in straightforward cases like these.
This is a great tool for simple child support cases and for “on the phone” child support consultations.
If the case is more complex, you can click over to the “Complete” page (which captures all data entered on the Quick page), and you can handle every possible permutation there.
When you have entered all the data, Family Law Software provides a printable worksheet that follows (and sometimes enhances) the official form. (All the worksheets are accepted for filing in their respective states.)
These worksheets make it easier for parents to understand the computations behind their support obligations. This transparency promotes a collaborative environment, reducing the likelihood of court disputes.
Side by Side Child Support Alternatives
Sometimes, the child support calculation is not cut-and-dried, due to situations like the following:
- Incomes may be different this year than in the past.
- Incomes may be uncertain.
- The parties’ tax filing statuses this year may be different than in past years.
- It is unclear which parent will be able to claim the head of household filing status.
- The parents have not decided which party will be providing health insurance or which plan will be chosen.
- The parties have not yet decided who will be paying for child care.
- The parties have not decided on their calendar for the children’s overnights.
In the face of all these possibilities, what can a professional do to help?
Family Law Software has an answer: it provides a “What If” capability for Child Support calculations.
On the “Child Support What-If” page, you can instantly try variations on all these factors on a side-by-side basis.
You can see which factors matter most, and you can see how big the impact is of changes in one factor or another.
You can then use the results of your “what if” comparisons to help guide your client to advocate for one alternative over another.
Family Law Software is your solution for complete and accurate child support calculations, no matter how simple or how complex the situation.
Want to learn more?
Sign up for upcoming state specific child support webinars here:
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More Helpful Resources: Family Law Software Blogs:
Getting Child Support Right: https://blog.familylawsoftware.com/2021/06/25/getting-child-support-right/
Accurate Net Income: https://blog.familylawsoftware.com/2021/02/26/accurate-net-income/
Tax Benefits Related to Children: https://blog.familylawsoftware.com/2023/04/04/tax-benefits-relating-to-children/