Child Support

Child Support Lawyers In Newport, RI

Rhode Island Child Support Attorneys

Pursuant to the Federal Child Support Enforcement Act, Rhode Island has a set of mandatory guidelines for determining the minimum amount of child support that the non-custodial parent will have to pay. Child support is based upon a percentage share of a support amount derived from the gross income for both parties.

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  • There are required deductions from the parents’ gross incomes for pre-existing child support payments, health insurance premiums (or medical cash contributions) and additional minor dependents.
  • There are other optional adjustments to the gross income of the parent which are discretionary with the court such as pension or retirement payments, life insurance premiums, income tax exemptions allowance, and payments for assigned marital debts.
  • Generally, the custodial parent takes the income tax dependency exemption for the child but this can be negotiated and the guideline worksheet adjusted.
  • The custodial parent is presumed by the guideline amount to be the party claiming the child as a dependent on their tax return.
  • It is possible though, to negotiate that the non-custodial parent can claim that exemption if that benefit is reflected in the payment, i.e., the child support amount is increased.

Work-related child care costs are normally included in the child support calculation but they can be separated and by agreement paid in another manner then together with the child support. The formula requires that the amount of work-related day care be reduced by any federal tax credit which will accrue to the payer of the day care. If work related day care is paid as part of the child support, the custodial parent is required to notify the non-custodial parent when the work related day care costs change. A party can also be ordered to contribute to the medical health insurance for the child or children.

Because these guidelines vary from state to state, identical situations may yield very different results depending upon where you live. A Rhode Island child support order can follow the children into another state, but then the new state amounts may apply. The original state that issued the order, will always govern the duration of payments. In Rhode Island, child support continues until the child is 18, or if 18 and still in school, 3 months beyond graduation.

Child support can also vary from the child support guidelines in cases where placement is shared by the parents more than the norm. In such as case, the amount to be paid is based not only upon the respective gross income of the parties but also upon how much time the child spends with each parent.

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What paperwork is involved for Child Support?

The divorcing parties will be required to fill out financial worksheets with detailed financial information listing income, living expenses, medical insurance, and any outstanding debt. Although courts like to enable the standard of living pre-divorce to remain the same for the child, they are also aware that it is not always feasible considering the difficulty of maintaining two households on income that formerly supported only one home.

The parties can vary from the guidelines but the variations must be approved by the court if the child support amount is less than the guidelines and the parties must establish good cause for the reduced amount. In that case, the Judge is required to make specific written findings of facts on the child support guideline worksheet to justify the down-ward modification from the standard guidelines support amount.

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Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. at:

Call Us Today401- 841- 5700

Special Child Support Cases

In some cases the court may decide to award support based upon what the party has the potential to earn, rather than actual earnings. This is called “imputed income”. Income is imputed when a parent voluntarily leaves a job to go to school, takes a lower paying job with the potential to earn more in the future, is not accepting available employment or takes a job with lower pay for whatever reason. In each instance, the court has the discretion award an amount of child support based upon projected gross income figures based upon earning ability rather than the actual income of the non-custodial parent.

Child support is always modifiable based upon changes of circumstances. The change must be substantial enough to justify returning to court for a modification of the support order.

Contact a Divorce Attorney of the Law
Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. at:

Call Us Today401- 841- 5700

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