I'm Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer* Christopher Pearsall and once again I'm paving new ground here in Rhode Island.
Like most divorce lawyers here in Rhode Island I started my practice with a brick and mortar law office for my practice. It had the usual amenities, a sufficient law library, a nice office for myself, two other associates and ample space for a legal secretary. It had a roomy conference room and I charged rates to match my skills and my experience. It was in every respect a traditional law practice.
Unlike most attorneys who practice divorce and family law here in Rhode Island, I became somewhat of a maverick. I had ideals about he legal system that proved to be naive and impractical. I learned too many lessons the hard way. Child Support was a dynamic that most attorneys I ran into simply rattled off like it wasn't a big deal and didn't involve any thought. Some divorce and family lawyers continue to do that today.
In fact, today, some divorce and family law attorneys in Rhode Island are more than willing to run the child support calculations by you so fast that you are simply expected to accept their computations as "gospel" and that there is no variation from what they present to you. When this happens, many people who represent themselves (called "Pro Se") are victimized by these self-serving practitioners who are not willing to take the time to insure that the opposing party who represents himself or herself truly understand what the calculations mean and whether they are correct.
Personally, as a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer I have seen this far to often and it infuriates me. It borders on unethical behavior to say little of a lawyers sense of morality and fair play envisioned by our forefathers. Consider each coaching lesson my effort to help those of you who represent yourselves to do so in a more competent manner, to know your rights, and to prevent you as the Pro Se litigant from being taken advantage of by anyone.
Child Support is a culmination of factors that should be considered. In its simplest form, child support is calculated by adding the gross incomes of the parents of the child or children with the non-placement parent typically paying his percentage of his or her income to the combined income of both parents and then applying that percentage to an amount that a Child Support Task Force has determined is an appropriate an amount the child or children are entitled to based upon the gross income of both parents. when applied to the number of children to be supported as provided by a standard Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines Calculation Chart.
Typically then it could be simplified like this.
The father makes $60,000 per year gross income.
The mother makes $40,000 per year gross income.
Together they make $100,000 in combined income per year with the father making 60% of the total income and the mother making 40% of that total income.
Since the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines are based upon a monthly income amount, we would take $100,000 and simply divide it by 12 months to get the combined gross monthly income figure for both parents which is $8,333.33 per month.
For the sake of our Rhode Island Child Support Calculations let's assume that there are no deductions that either mother or father may deduct from his or her gross income. Let us also assume there is only one child.
You would then take out your Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines Chart and look up the column for how much support one child is entitled to when the parents make a gross monthly income of $8,333.33.
If you were to look at the RI Child Support Guidelines you would find that according to the Child Support Chart, one child is entitled to $1,1,24 in support from his or her parents each month when the parents make $8,333 working together.
Let's assume that the father is the non-placement parent and that as a result he will be paying child support. The father's child support would be 60% of the total amount the child is entitled to receive for support each month (the $1,124) which calculates out to $674.40 in child support to be paid by the father on a monthly basis.
To determine the father's weekly child support amount you would divide the $674.40 by 4.33 weeks in a month which will give you the monthly child support payment. This would be a child support payment of which results in a weekly payment of $155.75.
Keep in mind, this is the most BASIC formula for calculating child support. Factors often will vary depending upon types of deductions available, other children from a prior or subsequent marriage, the number of children, the payment of insurances for the benefit of the child, the nature of the child or children (handicapped, substantially ill, etc..), any prior child support orders, the nature of the parent's income and its provability such as self-employment income versus employer paid compensation and in some instances a new spouse's income, among other things.
Hopefully, you get the gist of things from the prior paragraphs. Child support can involve a multitude of variable factors on a case by case basis. It's not as cut and dry as many people would have you believe. Many aspects of child support are arguable on a case by case basis. Are you sure you know all the things you should argue to get the best deal?
There are a substantial variety of considerations that can and sometimes SHOULD be made for a correct computation both for the benefit of the parents as well as for the children involved.
Information is your best ally in these situations. It is very easy for you to be taken advantage of and to misunderstand these calculations if you do not calculate them on a daily basis as divorce attorneys do year after year then it is it easy for Pro Se individuals to needlessly be taken advantage of.
While I could never outline every variation of circumstance that could occur to everyone, it is my sincere hope that if you do not take me up on my coaching services that you at least review the various articles I have published regarding child support in the hope that you will be more informed about how child support is calculated and the factors that go into the process.
There is certainly no guarantee that my informational articles will help guide you in your situation, you may find them of use to better be aware of the dangers and the process generally.
Do you need to get a better grasp on your child support case and your best arguments?
Call me for a coaching session now and target your Child Support Arguments so they are specific to your case and let's make sure you are aware of your legal rights and options!
Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law
Rhode Island's Full-Time Divorce* Lawyer is Now
Rhode Island's Only Full-Time Divorce Coach!!
Call (401) 632-6976 Now
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Copyright 2009. Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire
A New Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer and Coach for a New Millenium!
* Rhode Island licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law.
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