NH child support guidelines

Who Must Pay Child Support and Why?

The easy answer to this question is EVERYONE is responsible for the financial needs of their children. The goal of child support is to insure that the children's standard of living in their new families (after divorce/separation) is the same (or as close as possible) to the standard of living they enjoyed when both parents were together. Often the deciding factor in what parents pays child support, is based on the parent's income. The parent who makes more money is able to raise the standard-of-living of the parent who makes less money. Therefore, the children will enjoy a somewhat comparable lifestyle when living with each parent.

How Much Child Support Will I Have to Pay?

Child Support is actually easy to calculate. Unlike alimony, property division, or other court awards, the amount of child support paid comes from a huge numerical table. This table takes into account the incomes of both parents, the number of children, and certain minor deductions. The state of New Hampshire has a very handy child support calculator that will give you a good idea of how much support you'll pay.

The amount of child support listed in the table creates a rebuttable presumption of correctness. This means that it can often be difficult to argue for an amount of child support lower or higher than what is returned by the guidelines table.

What Factors Allow for Deviation from the Guidelines Table?

The amount from the child support guideline is presumed to be the correct amount. With that said, it can be difficult to prove that the amount is wrong or should be adjusted. A court will consider the following factors in determining adjustments.

Adjustment Factor
Extraordinary expenses. The court can adjust child support up or down in relation to the guidelines amount if one or more children require extraordinary medical, dental or education expenses.
Adjustment Factor
Very high income. If a parent has a very high income, the court will consider whether or not the amount required under the guidelines more than meets the needs of the children. In which case, a downward adjustment may be made.
Adjustment Factor
Very low income. The court will consider other factors like tax credits and public assistance in order to arrive at the best possible solution for the children.
Adjustment Factor
Expenses incurred by obligor parent. If the obligor parent must expend significant amounts of money to see his children and exercise his or her parenting rights, the court may adjust the support amount.
Adjustment Factor
Parenting schedule. When both parents have equal or approximately equal parenting time, the court may adjust the child support amount accordingly.
Adjustment Factor
Paying for college. If the parents include the payment of college expenses in their parenting plan, or uniform support order, the court may adjust the child support amount accordingly.

When can Child Support Orders be Modified?

There are only two scenarios where an existing child support order can be modified: 1) 3 years after the last order of support was issued, 2) when there has been a substantial change in circumstances relating to the payment of child support. The first reason for modification is very cut and dry. Every 3 years either party can request that the child support amount be adjusted. The second reason, a substantial change in circumstances, can be difficult to prove. The change must make the previous order of support improper or unfair.

Do I Need an Attorney to get or Modify Child Support?

Having an attorney is always an advantage. However, the cost of an attorney can be burdensome and sometimes impossible. The cost of a modification hearing can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousands. When you speak with an attorney you should consider the probable outcomes and contrast that with the cost of the attorney. For example, if the attorney will cost you $3,000 and you're only likely to save $50-$100 a month, it might be impractical to seek a modification. Conversely, if you've lost a job or have seen a significant reduction in income, an attorney may end up saving you thousands of dollars over the period of time where support is owed.

Contact Our Office

Child Support & Modification Lawyers

Tara C. Schoff

Ian R. Reardon

Call Schoff & Reardon, PLLC

(603) 570-4825

Email Schoff & Reardon, PLLC