In nearly all child custody cases, one parent will have an obligation to pay child support to the other. The amount of child support depends on many factors, including the number of days per year each child is with each parent under the custody schedule, which parent is paying for health insurance premiums and child care, and which parent is paying for other large expenses associated with camps, extracurricular activities, and so forth. If the combined income of the parties is less than $360,000 per year, the amount of child support one parent must pay to the other each month is typically determined by the Child Support Guidelines. Because the amount of child support owed depends on the custody schedule, it is not possible to calculate the amount of child support until at least a temporary custody schedule is established.
For tax planning purposes, both parents should understand that child support payments are not deductible to the parent paying them, and do not generate taxable income to the parent receiving them. Like child custody, child support may be modified based on changes in circumstances, such as the loss of a job or the substantial reduction in income. The parent paying child support is legally obligated to do so until each child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever occurs later.