Child support is New Hampshire’s way of ensuring that both parents take financial responsbilty for their child. Consequently, child support is an issue every time a child is born, irrespective of the circumstances of the parents. Thus, while child support most often arises in the context of divorce, it is equally relevant when unmarried individuals have a child.
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Determining if child support should be awarded
Usually a court determines if child support should be awarded, although the divorcing parents can agree on an amount and seek court approval. In making this determination, the court considers the individual facts of the case at hand. It is therefore difficult to generalize in this area of the law.
Determining how much child support should be awarded
A court calculates the amount of child support by referencing the child support guidelines and utilizing a mathematical formula. This formula gives substantial weight to the number of children the marriage has produced, the present monthly net incomes of both parents, and the proportion one parent’s monthly net income bears to that of the other parent.
Once the amount of child support has been determined, it is deemed by state law to presumptively be the correct amount. Either party can assert that special circumstances require that the “correct” amount by adjusted up or down. What constitutes “special circumstances” is defined in the applicable statue statute.
Modifying or terminating a child support award
After a final child support order is entered, it can be modified if either parent shows there has been a substantial change in circumstances that was not foreseeable at the time the child support order was entered.
Generally speaking, child support ends when the last minor child turns 18.