The logical starting point for child support calculations and how to make them should begin with the Statute. Miss. Code Ann. Section 43-19-101. Before we take a look at the statute, understand that child support is an amount (usually a percentage) that is taken from a person’s income to pay the support. The income amount is known as adjusted gross income. The statute describes how a person should calculate their adjusted gross income as well. This statute is the guideline for child support. It is presumed to be the amount the Court will use if a payor’s income is between $10,000.00 – $100,000.00.
(1) The following child support award guidelines shall be a rebuttable presumption in all judicial or administrative proceedings regarding the awarding or modifying of child support awards in this state:
1 Child: 14%
2 Children: 20%
3 Children: 22%
4 Children: 24%
5 or more: 26%
(2) The guidelines provided for in subsection (1) of this section apply unless the judicial or administrative body awarding or modifying the child support award makes a written finding or specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case as determined under the criteria specified in Section 43-19-103.
Now that an understanding of what percentage of income is taking, now you must know how to calculate exactly what your income should be under the law. The statute goes on to describe “adjusted gross income” as being the amount of of income from which the above percentages for support should be calculated:
3) The amount of “adjusted gross income” as that term is used in subsection (1) of this section shall be calculated as follows:
(a) Determine gross income from all potential sources that may reasonably be expected to be available to the absent parent including, but not limited to, the following: wages and salary income; income from self-employment; income from commissions; income from investments, including dividends, interest income and income on any trust account or property; absent parent’s portion of any joint income of both parents; workers’ compensation, disability, unemployment, annuity and retirement benefits, including an Individual Retirement Account (IRA); any other payments made by any person, private entity, federal or state government or any unit of local government; alimony; any income earned from an interest in or from inherited property; any other form of earned income; and gross income shall exclude any monetary benefits derived from a second household, such as income of the absent parent’s current spouse;
(b) Subtract the following legally mandated deductions:
(i) Federal, state and local taxes. Contributions to the payment of taxes over and beyond the actual liability for the taxable year shall not be considered a mandatory deduction;
(ii) Social security contributions;
(iii) Retirement and disability contributions except any voluntary retirement and disability contributions;
(c) If the absent parent is subject to an existing court order for another child or children, subtract the amount of that court-ordered support;
(d) If the absent parent is also the parent of another child or other children residing with him, then the court may subtract an amount that it deems appropriate to account for the needs of said child or children;
(e) Compute the total annual amount of adjusted gross income based on paragraphs (a) through (d), then divide this amount by twelve (12) to obtain the monthly amount of adjusted gross income.
Upon conclusion of the calculation of paragraphs (a) through (e), multiply the monthly amount of adjusted gross income by the appropriate percentage designated in subsection (1) to arrive at the amount of the monthly child support award.
In addition to that, the statute also requires the Court to include reasonable medical support for the children. The law requires a judge to determine:
If all else fails in calculating the support based on the guidelines above, then a Court may look to Miss. Code. Ann. Section 43-19-103. This statute provides the Court with certain criteria to examine for support when application of the child support guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. The criteria are:
(a) Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational or dental expenses.
(b) Independent income of the child.
(c) The payment of both child support and spousal support to the obligee.
(d) Seasonal variations in one or both parents’ incomes or expenses.
(e) The age of the child, taking into account the greater needs of older children.
(f) Special needs that have traditionally been met within the family budget even though the fulfilling of those needs will cause the support to exceed the proposed guidelines.
(g) The particular shared parental arrangement, such as where the noncustodial parent spends a great deal of time with the children thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the custodial parent, or the refusal of the noncustodial parent to become involved in the activities of the child, or giving due consideration to the custodial parent’s homemaking services.
(h) Total available assets of the obligee, obligor and the child.
(i) Payment by the obligee of child care expenses in order that the obligee may seek or retain employment, or because of the disability of the obligee.
(j) Any other adjustment which is needed to achieve an equitable result which may include, but not be limited to, a reasonable and necessary existing expense or debt.