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What factors are considered when determining child support?

Most parents in Rhode Island would agree that raising a child these days can cost a significant amount of money. Raising a child means a lot more than buying new shoes when he or she outgrows the old ones, taking the child to the doctor when he or she is sick or providing the child with food and shelter. It means meeting the financial obligations of every aspect of that child's life.

In fact, the state of Rhode Island recognizes that when it comes to raising a child, the financial support of that child is the responsibility of both parents. In many cases, this means that the noncustodial parent will be paying child support. But for each parent, the amount of support that is to be paid can be a sticking point. What are some statutory factors that the court may consider when determining such an award?

First of all, we must accept that based upon Federal mandates, Rhode Island uses a child support guideline.  Guidelines are modified every few years based upon actuarial studies encompassing housing and other costs.  There may be variations of the guidelines and numerous factors may become relevant.  If the child has any financial resources, those will be taken into consideration. Both parents' financial resources are another factor that will be considered. 

Furthermore, the child's emotional and physical health will be considered. The court in Rhode Island will also take into consideration any educational needs the child may have. Finally, the court will consider what the child's standard of living would have been if the child's parents had not gotten a divorce.

These statutory factors can help guide the court in making a determination of child support. In addition, there may be other relevant factors that the court will consider. With these factors in mind, a fair child support order may be established. One should not ignore that there are other child-related costs that should be negotiated in additional to child support, such as sports equipment and entrance fees.  Consulting with an attorney can be one way to obtain legal advice on this subject, which this post cannot provide.

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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