All children are entitled to be supported by their parents. When parents divorce, or are no longer together, the courts have to determine how the parents’ resources should be used for their children.

The family law attorneys at Foley Freeman provide comprehensive legal support through separation, divorce, and beyond. When divorcing couples have children, or when parents do not live together, child support must be determined along with custody. A child support lawyer from our firm will assist clients in establishing a child support order that requires both parents to be financially responsible for their children.

Determining Child Support in Idaho

Whether you are going through a divorce and have minor children, or you are establishing paternity, child support will be determined and ordered. Idaho courts follow the Idaho Child Support Guidelines to calculate the amount of the monthly child support obligation.

There are many factors considered in determining child support, such as: the parents’ actual or potential incomes, the custodial (or visitation) schedule, the allocation of the tax dependency exemption(s), and the cost of the minor children’s health insurance.

What is considered income? The quick and easy answer is “everything.” Anything from W-2 income to single events such as gifts, prizes, and the sale of property can be considered by the court in setting support. For example, if one parent continually produces income by purchasing and selling real property, then that income should be taken into consideration when determining the parent’s actual income. Whereas, it would not be appropriate to include a one-time receipt of a gift of money in a parent’s income.

Often times problems can arise when one, or both parents are self-employed. Trying to determine the amount of income for a self-employed parent can be difficult if anything other than reasonable and necessary business expenses are paid by the business. Typically, in order to determine a self-employed parent’s income for the purpose of child support requires a review of the business tax returns as well as the parent’s individual tax returns. It may be completely appropriate for an expense to be considered a business expense pursuant to the standards of the Internal Revenue Service, but may be inappropriate to deduct it as a business expense pursuant to the Idaho Child Support Guidelines.

Once these amounts are determined, a court still must consider several factors before awarding child support to either parent. These factors include:

  • The financial resources of the child
  • The financial resources of the parents, generally not including a parent’s resources or obligations with a new spouse
  • The standard of living the child enjoyed during the parents’ marriage or relationship
  • The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child, including educational needs or any special needs
  • The availability of reasonable medical insurance coverage for the child
  • Tax benefits received by the parent claiming a dependency exemption on his or her income tax return

In addition to child support payments, a court may also order a parent to add to the other parent’s health or dental insurance coverage and/or contribute to extraordinary medical, dental, or educational expenses, child care expenses, and transportation expenses.

Contact an Experienced Child Support Lawyer

If you have children and are facing divorce, or if you need assistance establishing, modifying or enforcing a child support order, please contact Foley Freeman to schedule a consultation with an experienced Idaho family law attorney. We have the resources to handle even the most complex issues.