Child support arises as a legal issue in any case where there are children under 18 years of age and who have not yet graduated from high school. The case may be a divorce of a marriage or an unwed parenting case. Unwed parenting cases may or may not begin with a paternity determination, unless the parents have acknowledged paternity by affidavit or have signed onto the child’s birth certificate.
New Hampshire employs guidelines for determining amounts of child support. New Hampshire combines the two parents’ incomes and then apportions the total child support obligation in proportion to those incomes. The calculation is laid out on a chart called the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, which also builds in certain limited deductions. A completed Child Support Guidelines Worksheet along with a completed Financial Affidavit is required to be submitted to court each time a support amount is to be determined. If the parents disagree on the figures for the Worksheet, each should submit their own worksheet with the figures they believe to be accurate.
“Child support cases become complicated when income is uncertain or where special circumstances exist.”
Child support guidelines calculations are presumed to be the correct amount of support for the parties to be responsible for paying. State law recognizes what it describes as “special circumstances” under which the Court may deviate from the child support guidelines and set a different amount of support. Special circumstances involve cases where the parties share parenting responsibilities, where other children or stepchildren of new families reside with a parent, and where expenses associated with exercising parenting time are unusually high (such as long-distance travel or air flights required.). If your child support case involves claims of deviations from child support guidelines for special circumstances, contact us.
Frequently contested child support cases involve questions of the actual amount of income of one of the parents. Determining income becomes a complex matter where one of the parties owns and operates a business and can hide or expense much of ordinary household income. Contests also arise where a parent is hiding income by earning “under the table” with unreported income from contract labor or tips. Income determination is governed by statute that defines “gross income.” Special rules apply to overtime work, bonus pay, and commissions sometimes making it difficult to determine just how much income is to be computed for child support. The law makes special treatment for what it describes as “voluntarily unemployed or underemployed” persons enabling the one circumstance where the income of parent’s new spouse can be applied to determine child support. There are ways that our office can seek to prove income in difficult support cases, and you should contact us if these arise.
Want to see how to keep track of your child support payments and amounts owed? Click here for a sample page and blank printable chart to keep track that helps present the status of child support payments and amounts owed clearly in court.