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## Guide to Calculating Child Support in Rhode Island (RI) Is There A Minimum Amount?

How is Rhode Island (RI) Child Support determined in divorce cases, paternity cases, child support cases and child visitation cases?

In most cases, support is determined by the “Rhode Island Family Court Child Support Formulas and Guidelines.” In most cases in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island minimum support guideline amount is used to determine child support.

However, a parent has the right to seek more than the minimum guidelines because the guidelines are supposed to be the minimum amount the parent will receive as child support. In theory, the Guidelines are not ground for support. In fact, minimum guidelines are used in most Rhode Island Support cases. Article by Child Support Attorney RI.

The court has the right to look at a party’s assets in determining child support. The Family Court can also consider the extraordinary expenses of both parties and can consider the needs and expenses of the parties. The court can look at any circumstances that the judge deems appropriate to determine child support. If a person is underemployed or refuses to work when able to work then the court can determine the party’s earning capacity. Some judges consistently exceed minimum child support guidelines.

The Rhode Island guidelines use an income sharing model where the adjusted gross income of both parents is used to determine the correct amount of child support. Basically, the guidelines look at the combined Gross income of both parties. Adjusted gross income means a party’s gross income with certain required deductions from gross income for medical insurance and dental insurance. Another necessary division is for minors (children). There are also some optional deductions that some judges may allow such as life insurance costs.

After determining the parties’ combined adjusted gross income, the RI Guidelines must be used to determine what the state of Rhode Island believes two parents with that amount of adjusted gross income would pay for support if the parents were still living together. Once this number is determined, daily care costs are added to that amount.

The noncustodial parent under the minimum guidelines must pay a percentage of the amount specified above, which is the same percentage as the individual’s adjusted gross income of the total adjusted gross income of both parties.

For example: If mom makes $1,000 a month and dad makes $4,000 a month and each has $200 in health insurance premiums, then mom’s adjusted gross income is $800 and dad’s gross income is $3,800. It is $4600. The father makes up $82.6 percent of the parties’ combined gross income and must pay 82.6 percent of the minimum child support amount and day care expenses.

The next step is to obtain a copy of the latest version of the RI Guidelines. This can be obtained at the RI Family Court or online.

Assuming the parties have two children, the child support guidelines indicate that the correct amount of child support is $956. Assuming there is no daycare* in this hypothetical, then the father would have to pay 82.6 percent or $956 per month, which would be $789.65 per month or $183 per week.

*(if day care is available, then add work-related child care expenses excluding the federal tax credit. Please note that the state of Rhode Island uses a rule of thumb of 75 percent to 80 percent of the actual cost of day care ) According to the 2018 child support guidelines, non-custodial parents are also entitled to a deduction from their gross income for the money they pay for day care.

The guidelines are in theory and in most cases in reality the minimum amount a person is required to pay. The judge has the discretion to waive the minimum guidelines if the circumstances warrant.

The types of situations in which a judge may be justified in granting a support order above the Rhode Island Support Guidelines are:

a) Important features

b) living standards and expenses that are much higher than reported total income

c) expenses and necessary emergency needs for the child

It will be granted if the parties agree on child support under the Rhode Island Support Guidelines. In these conditions, it may be possible to visit more than the norm, extraordinary payments of child expenses or sometimes only according to the agreement of the parties.

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