How much money will you or the other parent be required to pay in child support? What about other expenses such as health insurance or childcare?

Child support in Idaho is based on the Idaho Child Support Guidelines.

In order to determine the amount of child support, each parent is required to disclose their gross income from all sources; however, if you are an employee who works a full-time job, any overtime pay or income from a second job will generally not be included in your gross income.

Child support is determined by running a calculation, which includes your income, the other parent's income, and the percentage of overnights that each parent has with the child. Those numbers are put into the child support calculator, which then generates the monthly child support amount.

While there are some online resources to estimate the amount of child support, the State of Idaho uses a child support calculation program that requires a subscription fee. Therefore, while you might find an estimator tool online, it may not be 100% accurate. Our office can provide the detailed child support calculations.

TAX BENEFITS

Another factor that will make child support go up or down are the tax benefits. When calculating child support, usually one parent will be selected to claim all tax benefits for the child. It is possible to alternate the tax benefit or to have parents each claim children.

Assuming one parent claims the benefit every year, the non-claiming parent will receive a portion of the tax benefits in the form of a reduction to their child support obligation.  Example: Dad owes Mom $500 per month in child support. Because Mom will be claiming the child for taxes, the Child Support Guidelines show that she will receive $2,000 in tax benefits for the child. Dad's share of the tax benefit is $1,000, so his child support is reduced by $83.33 per month, which amounts to $1,000 for the year. Now Dad only owes $416.66 ($500-83.33) per month in child support.

A party will often claim that they “should get to claim the child for taxes.” This is often based on the misconception that whoever claims the child gets 100% of the tax benefits. In reality, both parties receive a portion of the tax benefit. The Child Support Guidelines state that if the parties cannot agree who should claim the child for tax purposes, the court will award the tax benefit to the parent who will receive the highest tax benefit. There is a chart within the Guidelines that shows the projected tax benefit based on a party's income.

MEDICAL AND DAYCARE COSTS

The other two categories of costs that the court will require each party to share are (1) medical costs (orthodontic, optical, dental, psychological, and prescription medication) and (2) child care expenses. Unless the parties agree otherwise, each party will be responsible for paying their pro-rata share of all of these expenses. For example, if one parent makes twice as much as the other parent, the higher earner will pay twice as much as the other parent.

Other expenses such as food, clothes, extracurriculars, etc. are presumed to be covered by child support.

To get more information on these issues, contact our office for a free consultation.