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What is a Child Support Calculator?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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A child support calculator is a tool a person can use to estimate how much money he may have to pay for child support. Likewise, a person can use this type of tool to estimate how much money he may receive for child support. There are many different child support calculators available on the Internet. A person may find them on various legal sites as well as on websites provided by some child support enforcement agencies. They are typically free.

Since child support regulations and amounts vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, a person who wants a child support estimate may do well to choose a calculator labeled for his particular area. Usually, these tools are free and contain a brief explanation of their suggested use. For example, the text that accompanies a child support calculator may inform the user that it is for educational use only. These calculators are usually not intended to provide a user with an exact amount he is required to pay or receive.

In order to get a realistic estimate from a child support calculator, a user has to provide a range of information. This usually includes general details about the user's financial situation, such as the number of children involved and his income. Some calculators ask for a person’s gross or net income while others request both. These tools usually need income information for both the paying and the receiving parent in order to provide an estimate. If the user doesn’t know the other party’s income, he can usually make a guess in order to get a child support calculation.

Often, child support calculators request other financial information before providing an estimate. For example, this tool may ask for details about child-related expenses, such as medical insurance costs and daycare payments. It may also ask for details about any child support payments either party makes for other children. For example, if a person is already paying child support for another child, this payment may affect the amount of money he will pay for the children included in this calculation. As such, many child support calculators take already-in-effect payments into account.

Some child support calculators require the user to input information about the number of nights he has custody or visitation with the children in question. In some jurisdictions, this number may influence the amount of money a parent has to pay. This is not always the case, however.

To get a more accurate estimate of child support payments, a person may seek the help of an attorney. Some situations are complex and beyond the scope of a standardized child support calculator. Still, using one of these calculators may be a good first step in estimating payments.

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