Child Support Guidelines Law and Legal Definition

Child support guidelines exist under state laws, which vary by state, to require the non-custodial parent, under normal circumstances, to pay child support based on a percentage of net or gross income. Child support guidelines are based on income, not expenses. The percentage of support is calculated based on the total number of children for which a parent has an obligation to support. Some state guidelines provide an adjustment for work-related child care costs.

Child support guidelines are founded on the premise that children should continue to receive the same level of support that would have been available to them had the family unit remained intact. Child support guidelines are based on income, not expenses. The guidelines are typically mandatory unless the court makes a written finding on the record indicating that application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. Guidelines vary by state, so local laws should be consulted for specific requirements in your area.