Mississippi Child Support
Whether exploring divorce or for whatever reason you are no longer with your child’s other parent, you already understand the basic concept of child support –one parent pays the other money for the benefit of the child. However, in addition to questioning exactly how child support will work in your situation, chances are you are also asking “Who pays for daycare?” or “What about college tuition?”or “What about medical and dental expenses?” and “How long does child support last?”
As in most states, Mississippi has child support guidelines used to determine the amount of child support the non-custodial parent will pay to the custodial parent. The duty to pay child support continues until the child turns 21 or is otherwise emancipated. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Mississippi’s child support guidelines are some of the lowest in the nation.
Regardless of your situation, your new normal will involve some form of a collaborative support system, starting with a basic child support award. Child support in Mississippi can be complicated, but it starts with a simple formula. A child’s noncustodial parent will be required to set aside a certain percentage of his or her income each month for support based upon Mississippi’s child support guidelines. The guidelines apply unless the Judge makes a written or specific finding on the record the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case.
For instance if you expect to be the parent providing support, you can simply multiply your monthly adjusted gross income (gross pay less taxes) by the following percentages depending upon the number of children you will be supporting:
What if My Child Support Percentage Seems High?
You may have calculated your child support percentage and come up with a figure far greater than your child’s monthly needs. This may be attributable to the fact your income exceeds that anticipated by the guidelines. That is, the percentages above only apply to noncustodial parents making $100,000 or less per year. When the income of you or your spouse exceeds $100,000, R+E can help by assisting in calculating a need based child support amount that covers all of your child’s needs without creating an unnecessary surplus for the custodial parent. However, there is a line of cases supporting the notion there should not be a disparity in lifestyle between what the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent can provide.
Often Times the Percentage Calculated is Just the Beginning.
Additional support can be requested and ordered based upon your child’s individual needs and circumstances. Your children probably play sports, participate in the arts or they may even attend private schools. Courts commonly order noncustodial parents to provide for half if not all of the costs of these types of educational and extracurricular activities. These things are over and above the child support guidelines, which provide for the child’s food, clothing and shelter. Still other things like health insurance and uncovered medical expenses, life insurance and college education must be considered, and there is not a strict formula to determine which of these additional expenses, if any, the Court will order be paid. Most Chancellors agree the non-custodial parent will have some obligation for health insurance and uncovered expenses, and if either one of the parents has a college education, they are relatively close to their child, and the child is nearing college age, they may be required to contribute to the expenses. Use your imagination for other expenses a Judge may require a non-custodial parent to pay or share with the custodial parent, but be aware around the state what is fair and reasonable can often vary based on the tendencies of the sitting Chancellor.