Understanding Child Support2017-10-13T20:00:31+00:00

Rhode Island is an income shares model state when it comes to determining child support. The philosophy is that children are entitled to the standard of living based upon both parents’ monthly income. To calculate the monthly child support order, the court will look to the following:

  1. Weekly gross income of both parents before taxes and before any other deductions. Living expenses are generally not deducted from gross income. Gross income inludes income from all sources including workers’ compensation, temporary disability benefits and social security disability benefits. Benefits received from the family Independence Program are not considered income.
  1. Mandatory deductions include:
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Pre-existing child support payments
  • Support of additional children.

It is important to know that the court may use its discretion to make the following deductions:

  • Retirement benefits
  • Life insurance payments
  • Extraordinary medical expenses
  • Income tax adjustments
  • Payment of original marital debts.

These deductions are then subtracted from the gross income of the parent.

  1. Add both parent’s adjusted gross income together, refer to the guideline chart to determine the amount of monthly child support recommended for the number of children that the parties have in common. That amount is placed on the guideline worksheet.

If there are day care expenses for which the custodial parent has proof, the Court may add that amount to the monthly recommended child support amount.

  1. Determine each parent’ s percentage share of the total monthly child support order.
  1. The non-custodial parent is then responsible to pay the % of that monthly amount. The monthly order is broken down into a weekly order by dividing again by 4.3333.
  1. Finally the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay that weekly amount by wage withholding. The weekly order will automatically be deducted from the parent’s check.