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Child support is an important and consequential family matter impacting your and your child’s future. It can be difficult to estimate the amount of support owed, which is based on a thorough evaluation of both parents’ income and various special circumstances, so it is advisable to have the help of an experienced lawyer to help you negotiate, whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent. Our child support attorneys at Fricano&Weber P.L.L.C. aim to provide personalized, friendly service for our clients and communicate transparently with them about their situation. You can trust that we will prioritize your and your child’s interests as we help you settle your child support arrangement in Nashua, NH.
Who Pays Child Support in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, both parents have a legal duty to support their child in some form or another. Generally, the non-custodial parent (also called the “obligor”) will be responsible for paying support, as it is presumed by the law that the custodial parent (or “obligee”) will provide support by spending that child support amount from the noncustodial parent directly on the child.
Calculating the Support Amount
The primary factor in determining the amount of child support is both parents’ income and the number of children they support. Parents must also disclose childcare and medical expenses and may have to cover costs like those for education. The calculations will begin with each parent’s gross income, which is the income from all sources like the parent’s salary, wages, bonuses, and commissions from their job, as well as income from any pension, severance pay, royalties, dividends, trusts, or rental profits. Lottery winnings and spousal support received also count as a form of gross income. If a parent is unemployed, it is possible that their “income” will include Social Security, workers’ compensation, disability, or unemployment benefits. Likewise, a court could impute income to a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, unless they have a good reason for working less or not at all (e.g., a disability preventing employment). However, government assistant benefits like food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) do not apply as gross income.
After calculating each parent’s gross income, individuals may make deductions for preexisting payments, like any mandatory retirement payments, taxes, and childcare and medical support costs. The result of this deduction is the parents’ adjusted incomes. Add the incomes together to obtain the combined income, which they can then use to determine the support amount.
Note that a court can adjust the amount of support reached via the above calculation method based on the following factors:
- ongoing extraordinary medical, dental, or education expenses;
- significantly high or low income of the parents;
- the economic consequences of stepparents or other children;
- the paying parent’s reasonable parenting expenses;
- the economic consequences for the child’s benefit;
- tax reasons;
- parenting schedule;
- post-secondary educational expenses; and
- other relevant circumstances.
In certain situations, either parent can petition for a modification of an existing child support order. If it has been less than 3 years since a court last issued or modified the order, then the petitioning parent must show a substantial change in circumstances, such as the loss of employment. A parent may also request a modification at any time if the current order does not include the child’s medical support. If the order has been in place for 3 years or longer, the petitioning parent does not need to prove a substantial change in circumstances to begin a request for change.
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