Before we get into the topic of child support and how it is determined, it is important to realize that every couple is different, and no two child support cases are going to be the same. This uniqueness makes it difficult to exactly predict how a person’s (or couple’s) child support case will be determined. Still, there are some crucial factors to consider, so let’s get into it.

First of all, if a parent gets sole custody of a child out of a divorce, the other parent will end up paying child support. The parent with custody fulfills his or her support obligation through those payments.

Joint custody changes this arrangement a bit, as the ultimate determination for support is based on the incomes of the two parents and the amount of time that the child spends with the parents.

Now, the actual determination for child support is based on the Child Support Enforcement Act, even though the process depends on the state. The laws in each state have some common ground, but each state is going to be a little different.

The financial needs of the child, the financial needs of the parents, the standard of living before divorce, and the ability for the spouses to pay all factor heavily into the support agreement. Loans and other deductions that pertain to the parents will also be considered.

In addition, the courts may take into account your “potential” earnings. This is usually implemented to prevent a parent from taking a job that pays less or putting himself or herself in a less-financially-viable situation simply to avoid paying child support.

Source: FindLaw, “How to Calculate Child Support,” Accessed July 15, 2015