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Show ALL Forums  > Single Parents  > An "unofficial" look at CS payment amounts.      Home login  
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 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 1
An "unofficial" look at CS payment amounts.Page 1 of 31    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31)
I will preface this post with saying that as I live in Canada, my comments, posted values, etc. will all be in reference to the Canadian system. If you would like to provide factual information and/or commentary of the legislation in your country, please feel free to do so though.
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Quite often while reading threads in this section of the PoF forums, you will come across statements regarding child support. Knowing that this is PoF, I'm sure this topic has been done before, but if we could only post entirely original threads on PoF there would never be anything new. lol

The idea of this thread is to put out some questions regarding child support amounts, and hopefully get some answers too. Over the last year I had done a lot of reading up on it online as well as have had many discussions about it online and with friends and family. There are a lot of misunderstandings out there, that part is for sure. I also found that there are a lot of different beliefs and feelings out there on what can be a hotly debated topic.

Feel free to post any questions or comments you may have regarding child support payments. Please keep this thread specifically to the payment calculations and amounts. There are a ton of deadbeats out there that don't pay or dodge their payments one way or another, but lets keep that out of this thread if we can. I'm hoping to just look at the economics of it if you will.

My first question is:

Does anyone here know the actual calculation and factors that went into creating the Federal Child Support Tables?

A few assumptions I would make in theorizing of what would go into such a calculation would be:

1 - The child(ren) has two biological parents that are both mutually responsible for providing sufficient life necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing.
2 - Both parents should be mutually responsible for direct costs related to eduction and health.
3 - The child needs to have adequate living arrangements while staying with either parent.

Now for a few examples. I used the Ontario tables in these examples as that province has the highest population in the country. Other provinces have slightly different amounts, likely to reflect local cost of living, but nothing is "substantially" different in my opinion.

I make the assumption that the "average" person would expect to pay about 30% of their paycheque out in deductions such as income tax, CPP and EI. This can vary greatly depending on income, tax write offs, etc. though; but 30% is a good working number.

Examples:

1 Child - 30,000/yr gross income.
The payment would be $270/mo which equates to 20.67% of the net income.

1 Child - 60,000/yr gross income.
The payment would be $557/mo which equates to 15.91% of net income.

1 Child - 90,000/yr gross income.
The payment would be $798/mo which equates to 15.20% of net income.

2 Children - 30,000/yr gross income.
The payment would be $444/mo which equates to 25.37% of net income.

2 Children - 60,000/yr gross income.
The payment would be $902/mo which equates to 25.77% of net income.

2 Children - 90,000/yr gross income.
The payment would be $1281/mo which equates to 24.40% of net income.

What I see in the above examples is that other than one anomaly with the single child 30k income, the percentages of net income remain the same across all similar examples. So with the percentages relatively equal, the payments simply scale with net income. That makes some sense to me, with my only comment being that at a lower income, I might expect the percentage of net income to be less as there isn't as much to work with for the payer to use.

There are other variables not taken into account in child support. One is the extra costs outside of basic care, such as sports, music lessons, extended health care coverage, etc. Normally the CS payer would also be responsible for a share of these costs too.

My next questions are:

What is the responsibility of the governing body in maintaining that the CS payer and receiver are optimizing their personal incomes?

What are the CS receivers obligations to financial support? How is it quantified?

That is a long ass post, so I'll stop there for now. There is a lot more to touch on though.
 joshblueyes
Joined: 10/12/2009
Msg: 2
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 2:34:39 PM
guess I should move to canada. They want me to pay 330 a month of a 11,000 a year income. When you add it up it is half of bring home.

Going by net pay makes it too much. do they not realizxe there are taxes and insurance to pay?
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 3
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 2:50:29 PM

what business is it of theirs... do rich people need to "optimize their personal incomes" as well?


If an able body person is intentionally unemployed or underemployed, then it may be in the child's best interest that a governing body of some sort investigate them. Intentionally reducing your income to prevent paying more or receiving less should be discouraged and even potentially penalized.

Everyone should optimize their personal income, why wouldn't they? If Bill Gates gets a great deal on an investment today should he say "no, I already have enough money"?


could you explain this in simple English please


If a person is receiving CS is it to be expected that the CS amount is the full amount that should be required to provide for the child? Should the receiving parent be obligated somehow to quantify that they are putting in similar levels of support to the child(ren).
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 4
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 3:14:19 PM

Some people that actually pay support, give very little of anything else to their kids.


Absolutely, which is why these questions I pose can have such a varying set of responses. There are situations where it is 100% custody for one parent and nothing but payment for the other, there are also many situations of shared parenting of varying time percentages up to 50/50.

For the sake of the discussion I was hoping to steer towards a shared parenting situation where both parents love and care for the children whole heartedly. I'm trying to just boil it down to the numbers some how.
 carterscutie85
Joined: 5/31/2007
Msg: 5
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 3:31:19 PM

guess I should move to canada. They want me to pay 330 a month of a 11,000 a year income. When you add it up it is half of bring home.

Going by net pay makes it too much. do they not realizxe there are taxes and insurance to pay?


How'd they figure that one out? They based my son's father's on $28,000 and came up with $436/month. That's only $100 more than yours and he makes more than twice your income. He actually makes way more than what they based it on, but after figuring in what they count as far as bill-wise, it was taken down to $28,000.
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 6
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 3:43:02 PM
Another thing to note are the tax exemptions that are applicable from the child(ren).

In Canada, if you do not have sole custody, you require a letter signed by the other parent stating who is eligible to claim the children. I got stuck on that one, so just a heads up. lol
 Lostcauz
Joined: 11/22/2007
Msg: 7
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 4:05:43 PM
I happen to have first hand experience with Child Support, as the one paying it. I also have first hand experience with the legal aspects of Child Support in two US states, specificly, California, and Texas.

California uses a formula, which takes into account the net incomes of BOTH parents of the child. The TOTAL of the incomes of BOTH parents is used to determine how much money would be made to support the child, if the family unit were to remain intact. For example $1,000 per month.

Then, the net incomes of the respective parents of the child is reduced to a percentage of the combined income of BOTH parents. The non-custodial parent is then ordered to pay child support to his ex wife, in an amount equal to his income, with respect to the family's total income. Let's say Dad brings in 50% of the family's total income. Then, in the example used, Dad would have to pay $500 per month to his ex wife for Child Support.

Before too awful much discussion is had with respect to the monetary value to be placed upon being a full time Mother, as opposed to being a two weekends a month, and two weeks in the summer, Dad. There needs to be some clarification as to the intended purpose of Child Support.

The intended purpose, according to US Jurisprudence; you know, those people who make sure Mom gets her money. Child Support is intended to be used for the health, maintenance, and welfare of the child for which the support is being paid. In plain English, this means that Child Support is to be used for food, housing, clothing, and education of the child. Please note, there is NO mention of after school activities, extra curricular activities, dating, movies, cars, horses, mink coats, or any other things that cannot be reasonably considered as necessities.

In Texas, when I was ordered to pay Child Support, it was based upon a percentage of the non-custodial parent's income. In my case, it was then 18% of my Gross pay; which worked out to about 1/3 of what I earned. Later, the Courts changed their opinions, and the guidelines were changed to 21% of my Net pay. Either way, it really made very little difference, it still worked out to about 1/3 of what I earned, being paid out in Child Support.

As for Custodial parents accounting for the money sent to them being spent in a reasonably prudent manner? In the US, forget asking for an accounting. The Courts are to busy to be bothered with something as logical as asking someone to account for the Child Support money that is paid to them. However, if you are the one paying Child Support, and you should even dare to consider asking for a reduction in the amount of Child Support you are ordered to pay; you will have to account for ever cent you have ever spent, right down to the money Grandma sent you for your Birthday.

One interesting fact about Child Support that Dads in the US pay. You have the privilege of paying income taxes on that money. No, you can't claim the child as a deduction on your taxes, because Mom has custody of the child. No, you can't deduct the amount of Child Support you paid from your income taxes. Oh yeah, Mom gets that Child Support money TAX FREE.

I know, I know, the money is for the CHILD. I paid Child Support for 18 years, and my daughter never once cashed a Child Support check.

I don't know about Canada. However, at last count, there were thirty-six (36) ways for Mom to enforce a Child Support Order, WITHOUT HAVING TO GO TO COURT, TO DO SO.

At last count, there was only one (1) way Dad could enforce a Visitation Order, and it REQUIRED his going to Court to do so.

By the way, I use the terms Mom as the custodial parent, and Dad as the one paying Child Support based upon the last US statistics I looked at, where this was the arrangement in 99.3% of such cases.
 diamondincnd
Joined: 1/17/2006
Msg: 8
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History
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 4:23:28 PM
I'm guessing that is more like guidelines and a starting point to base child support on.
 Tealwood
Joined: 12/16/2008
Msg: 9
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 7:39:02 PM

OP, to my knowledge, in addition to the non custodian parent's revenue, the CS calculations in Canada also takes into account :

- The revenue of the custodian parent
- The % of time the parents are sharing the kid's responsibility

So I am a bit confused as to how you arrive to the example numbers you are providing, without knowing these two variables.


Now ConciouseSoul...I do not understand what your suggestion of the revenue of the custodial parent has to do with the determination of cs.....

but then I also am interested in your suggestion of % of time...then perhaps we can discuss
Contino v. Leonelli‑Contino, [2005] Supreme Court decision and how the attainment of the 40% access/custody should not mean a reduction in cs for a poor custodial parent....who relies on the cs to maintain the lifestyle they became accustomed to based on the cs.
 ohwhynot46
Joined: 6/28/2009
Msg: 10
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History
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 8:04:28 PM
[Federal guidelines for the US are 25% of income for one child, 40% for two, and 45% for three or more. Some states, such as Massachusetts, are higher. This is a percentage of the gross, not the net, and the payer still must pay Federal income tax on the full gross. The payer does not get a tax deduction for having a dependent, although it is possible for the non-custodial parent to sign the deduction over, but only on the Federal income taxes. Where applicable, the payer is still responsible for state, city, county, and school district income taxes, which can be assessed on the residence or workplace or both. (Pennsylvania is particularly elaborate in the number of taxes they levy]

As far as I know, guidelines in the US for support payments are set by each state, not the federal government. The parent who pays more than 50% of the full cost to support a child, so long as they can prove it, is entitled to claim the child, contrary to popular belief. It may involve a trip to court, but if the numbers are accurate, well family court should be sufficient to effect the change, and shouldn't require a lawyer, so go for it .

It is true that here is no accounting for a custodial parents use of CS monies, and personally, I don't have a problem with the institution of such. My experience tells me that those who complain that the custodial parent is squandering their money really have no idea of the expense attributable to caring for their children. Claims that their children are being "neglected" by the custodial parent, without following through by being willing to take on the job, seem baseless to me, and more about vengeance then about the care of their child. There are those who may abuse the CS system, no doubt, but in fact the numbers as figured seem to fairly represent the expense of raising a child, and for the most part cover only the necessities. Truth is, if every parent who claims that the other parent, with whom their children reside and who collects payments from them, really spent the money "having a good time", we'd have a lot more starving children. Just my two cents.
 ohwhynot46
Joined: 6/28/2009
Msg: 11
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History
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/20/2009 9:01:16 PM
Yes, it is true that agreements pertaining to tax status exist between parents, but IRS regulations state that the parent who provides more than half the support for a child can claim them as a dependent. Divorce agreements can be changed, that's all I'm saying.
 Lostcauz
Joined: 11/22/2007
Msg: 12
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/21/2009 1:35:41 AM

. . . The parent who pays more than 50% of the full cost to support a child, so long as they can prove it, is entitled to claim the child, contrary to popular belief. It may involve a trip to court, but if the numbers are accurate, well family court should be sufficient to effect the change, and shouldn't require a lawyer, so go for it .


Any person in the US may represent themselves in ANY Court. However, if you choose to represent yourself in a hearing in Family Court in the US, your chances of having an outcome in your favor, if you are the one paying Child Support, are extremely slim. My experience is that Judges don't have time to deal with Pro Se litigants, there are far too many cases, with far too many issues, to be addressed, by litigants who are represented by counsel.

I know of several cases that I was involved in, where the non custodial parent paid a great deal more than 50% of what was needed for the child's health, maintenance, and welfare. However, no Judge would award the non custodial parent the income tax deduction for the child, because they were the "non" custodial parent.

Anything is worth a shot. Personally, I wouldn't waste my money on trying such a thing.


It is true that here is no accounting for a custodial parents use of CS monies, and personally, I don't have a problem with the institution of such. My experience tells me that those who complain that the custodial parent is squandering their money really have no idea of the expense attributable to caring for their children. Claims that their children are being "neglected" by the custodial parent, without following through by being willing to take on the job, seem baseless to me, and more about vengeance then about the care of their child. There are those who may abuse the CS system, no doubt, but in fact the numbers as figured seem to fairly represent the expense of raising a child, and for the most part cover only the necessities. Truth is, if every parent who claims that the other parent, with whom their children reside and who collects payments from them, really spent the money "having a good time", we'd have a lot more starving children. Just my two cents.


Interesting point. I'll use just one real life example. If Dad pays $550 a month in child support. That means Mom puts in an equal amount towards the child's health, maintenance, and welfare. Thus, %1,100, each and ever month, without fail, would be paid toward the repective child's existence on earth.

Given that I support a family of three (3) on slightly more than $1,100 a month, IMHO, that would be one well dressed, educated, and extremely healthy child.

No, there are an infinite number of custodial parents who squander the Child Support money paid to them by the non custodial parent. Here again, the statistics support such claims. If this were not the case, at least in the US, we wouldn't have so many children in Foster Care, where the State is collecting the Child Support.
 carterscutie85
Joined: 5/31/2007
Msg: 13
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/21/2009 3:25:49 AM
About the tax thing-I understand that as the custodial parent and the one who has provided everything for my son since he's been born, I get to claim him. But my ex was telling me before that if we go to court I HAVE to agree to let him claim the baby, and we have to alternate years. I don't want to agree to that. Is he just bullshytting or do I really have to agree to alternate him?
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 14
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/21/2009 8:41:00 AM

OP, to my knowledge, in addition to the non custodian parent's revenue, the CS calculations in Canada also takes into account :

- The revenue of the custodian parent
- The % of time the parents are sharing the kid's responsibility

So I am a bit confused as to how you arrive to the example numbers you are providing, without knowing these two variables.


CS calculations in Canada are based solely on the payers gross income. Spousal support takes into account the receivers income though.

In Canada there are three "groups" that you can fall into for % time that a parent has the children in reference to CS. The three ranges are 0 - 39.9%, 40 - 59.9% and 60% or more. In the first and last groups the courts are required to use the Federal Child Support Table amounts in determining how much CS a person will pay. If you fall into that middle category then you can negotiate an amount separate from the table amounts.

*** One disclaimer on this is if the CS receiver earns over $150,000 per year then I think it can be reviewed. I'm not positive on this though. ***

- Diamondincnd

If you are referring to the Canadian support tables; they are not guidelines, they are law.
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 15
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/21/2009 1:49:42 PM
So does anyone know how the amounts are calculated? What constitutes a "cost" of having the child living with one parent primarily?

Some of the things I have heard of are:

- More cost for a larger home. Yes, although this would be a requirement at the payer and recipients homes.
- More costs for food. Yes, the more the child is at one home, the more they would consume.
- More costs in utilities. Yes, but I would think this would be relatively small. I don't notice a large drop off in utility usage when my kids are with their mom. lol
- The bulk of the clothing costs? I'm not sure about how this is factored into the calculation, if it even is. In my situation we both buy clothing for the children so I would think there would be a net zero value applied.
- Transportation costs? More places to go, more trips to make might require more fuel expense?
- Sports, medical, etc. expenses? These are usually excluded from CS.
 Crane38
Joined: 8/8/2009
Msg: 16
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/21/2009 6:18:23 PM
OP the point with support might also be that no matter how much someone makes or how many kids there are there is a base amount to raise each kid. So what you have noticed is that the more money one makes the support amount goes up in smaller increments. Plus the Section 7 Child care expenses is based solely on percentages of income from the 2 parents.
 carterscutie85
Joined: 5/31/2007
Msg: 17
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 5:39:55 AM
Well I know when I went to my hearing they factored in cost for daycare, if I would have been paying for daycare he would have been responsible for half of whatever it costs for me to have him in there. I am assuming they would have tacked that on to child support but am not sure since my son doesn't go to daycare. At my hearing they didn't say specifically what they were factoring X amount of money in for, for instance they didn't say "Ok, this amount is for this, and this amount if for that" I think that here it's just based off income, that's why some people only get 200 a month (not nearly enough) and other people get more, like me for instance, I will be getting $436 a month, and I think that's plenty. I can buy him what he needs plus put some in my son's savings account.

As far as medical expenses, that's why they have the law here that the non custodial parent MUST put the child on their insurance if they have it. I think it should be like that everywhere. If they don't, they get charged for their medical bills. So technically it's not tacked onto the initial calculation cause they try to give u a chance to put the child on your insurance, but then if you don't they start sending u a seperate bill for their medical needs (rather than holding another hearing to modify the support order, it's easier just to send a bill), and in some cases u have to re-inburse the other parent if they were paying out-of-pocket expenses for the child's medical.

I have never had to pay any out of pocket expenses, fortunatly my son's insurance covers everything. But if I had they would have made him pay me back, and in the future he will be responsible for all co-payments once my child gets on his insurance.
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 18
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 8:32:35 AM

OP the point with support might also be that no matter how much someone makes or how many kids there are there is a base amount to raise each kid. So what you have noticed is that the more money one makes the support amount goes up in smaller increments.


I don't see that from my examples though. From 30k through 90k the percentages of net income going to CS remain very close.


Plus the Section 7 Child care expenses is based solely on percentages of income from the 2 parents.


I'm wondering if that is law at all? I've never actually seen anything formally laying out details about section 7 expenses. In my case we set up our own agreement, so I didn't look into it very much.
 diamondincnd
Joined: 1/17/2006
Msg: 19
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History
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 11:03:25 AM
A little confusion for me here. I'm in BC and I have yet to go through this.

The child support tables, are they based on the combined income from both parents or just the paying parent? Is the receiving parents income even looked at? My case was started last year and the hearing is in December, I have our child and my lawyer hasn't asked me for my financial statement at all.
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 20
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 11:20:00 AM
The tables are based on the payer's income only. The receivers income generally does not matter for child support, only for spousal support.
 carterscutie85
Joined: 5/31/2007
Msg: 21
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 11:20:57 AM
^^

That's not how it is in the U.S though, at least not in Ohio. They take the Mother's income into consideration, also.
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 22
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 11:35:06 AM
Yeah, she said BC though, so the Canadian laws apply.

What you have in Ohio seems more complicated btw. :p
 diamondincnd
Joined: 1/17/2006
Msg: 23
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History
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 11:41:15 AM
Is that a federal law or provincial?
 thatusernameistaken
Joined: 5/4/2009
Msg: 24
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 11:44:38 AM
Federal.

The guidelines are published Federally but have slight revisions to the amounts province by province.
 singlesuperdad
Joined: 8/26/2009
Msg: 25
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History
An unofficial look at CS payment amounts.
Posted: 10/22/2009 12:29:06 PM

That's not how it is in the U.S though, at least not in Ohio. They take the Mother's income into consideration, also.


thats how it is here in florida too. they take both incomes
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