A non-custodial parent’s child support obligations are very much written in stone. They are codified law. They are the following percentages of a person’s gross salary, taxes notwithstanding: 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for four children, and no less than 35% for five or more children. The law does allow the Court to deviate from the formula. This however is not often done. Depending on the facts of the particular case it is possible (though unlikely) that a court may deviate from this formula.
There are some deductions that the non-custodial parent may take. Yet, there are other fees that the Court may charge, such as child care, health benefits for the children, etc.
(NOTE: The following illustration is very rough. All the below numbers are approximations, and are for illustration purposes only). Presuming you have one child and, assuming you earn $100,000.00 per year, the 17% (minus deductions) comes off the top. Now you are bringing home approximately $90,000.00. Yet, you have to pay the taxes on $100,000.00. Taxes are conservatively one third of our income. Accordingly, your approximate take home income on a $100,000.00 yearly pay is approximately $67,000.00. Yet you have to pay 17% of your $100,000.00 (minus deductions) as child support. So that is $17,000.00 (minus other deductions which you are entitled to) from your $67,000.00. This leaves you with about $50,000.00 take home pay from your $100,000.00 income.
Then there are other expenses which may be imposed by the court, such as a pro rata percentage of child care, college expenses, health care co-pays, after school activities, camp, etc. What are you supposed to do? How do you live?
Now imagine that you have more than one child. The numbers of your take home pay go down exponentially. How do you live? How do you pay for your vehicle, gas, insurance, housing and food? You however want to take care of your child(ren). You want to give them everything they want. What do you do?
There are no pat answers to these issues. However, there are deductions to which you are entitled. There are legal maneuvers which may be taken. But these must initiate from the start of the time when a person thinks the marriage is not going to work out. The overriding concern must be what is best for the child(ren). You need to speak to an experienced attorney to give you the best advice possible.