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How Child Support Is Determined

By federal law, each state is required to have in effect and use child support guidelines for the establishment of child support orders. Nebraska is one of many states that uses the income shares model for its child support guidelines. This model factors in the income of both parents, even if they have never been married or lived together, in reaching a child support amount. The two incomes are combined, and each parent's percentage of the total is allocated. The parent without custody of the child will pay the support according to his or her percentage. For example, if the combined incomes of both parents were $2,000.00 after taxes and other deductions, the amount of support to be paid would be $507.00 per month for one child. If the noncustodial parent earned 75% of the total combined income, his or her child support obligation would be 75% of $507.00 or $380.25. Only the noncustodial parent pays child support. The custodial parent supports the child by providing food, clothing, shelter, and physical care.

Example:

BASIC NET INCOME AND SUPPORT CALCULATION
Mother Father
Combined
1. Total monthly income from all sources
Total Monthly Income (Non Taxable)
2. Deductions
a. Federal Income Tax
b. State Income Tax
c. FICA
d. Retirement
e. Child support previously ordered for other children
f. Child regular support for other children
g. Total deductions Child Tax Credit














3. Monthly net income$500 $1,500
4. Combined monthly net income $2,000
5. Combined annual net income
6. Percent contribution of each parent25% 75%
7. Monthly support from table 1 $507
8. Health insurance premium
9. Total obligation $507
10. Each parent's monthly share$126.75$380.25
11. Each parent's credit for health premium actually paid
12. Each parent's final share of the obligation$126.75$380.25

The Guidelines are to be used in all cases involving child support determinations. They are presumed to call for the appropriate amount of support unless, in an individual case, it can be demonstrated to the court that for some reason use of the Guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. In all cases where child support is ordered, a worksheet must be included with the order. The worksheet will show the numbers used in the calculation.

The Nebraska Legislature delegated to the Nebraska Supreme Court the authority to develop and amend the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines. The Supreme Court adopted the original Guidelines and all changes since their inception. Unless the Legislature passes a bill to change responsibility for the Guidelines, they will remain the responsibility of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is required to review the Guidelines at least once very four years to determine if any changes are necessary.

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