What You Need to Know About Child Support in Mississippi
Whether exploring divorce or for whatever reason you are no longer with your child’s other parent, you already understand the basic concept of child support --one parent pays the other money for the benefit of the child. However, in addition to questioning exactly how child support will work in your situation, chances are you are also asking “Who pays for daycare?” or “What about college tuition?”or "What about medical and dental expenses?" and "How long does child support last?"
As in most states, Mississippi has child support guidelines used to determine the amount of child support the non-custodial parent will pay to the custodial parent. The duty to pay child support continues until the child turns 21 or is otherwise emancipated. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Mississippi’s child support guidelines are some of the lowest in the nation.Regardless of your situation, your new normal will involve some form of a collaborative support system, starting with a basic child support award. Child support in Mississippi can be complicated, but it starts with a simple formula. A child’s noncustodial parent will be required to set aside a certain percentage of his or her income each month for support based upon Mississippi’s child support guidelines. For instance if you expect to be the parent providing support, you can simply multiply your monthly adjusted gross income (gross pay less taxes) by the following percentages depending upon the number of children you will be supporting:
Number Of Children Percentage of Net Income
5 or more 26%
The guidelines apply unless the Judge makes a written or specific finding on the record the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case.
What if My Percentage Seems High?
You may have calculated your child support percentage and come up with a figure far greater than your child’s monthly needs. This may be attributable to the fact your income exceeds that anticipated by the guidelines. That is, the percentages above only apply to noncustodial parents making $100,000 or less per year. When the income of you or your spouse exceeds $100,000, R+A can help by assisting in calculating a need based child support amount that covers all of your child’s needs without creating an unnecessary surplus for the custodial parent. However, there is a line of cases supporting the notion there should not be a disparity in lifestyle between what the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent can provide.
Often Times the Percentage Calculated is Just the Beginning.
Additional support can be requested and ordered based upon your child’s individual needs and circumstances. Your children probably play sports, participate in the arts or they may even attend private schools. Courts commonly order noncustodial parents to provide for half if not all of the costs of these types of educational and extracurricular activities. These things are over and above the child support guidelines, which provide for the child's food, clothing and shelter. Still other things like health insurance and uncovered medical expenses, life insurance and college education must be considered, and there is not a strict formula to determine which of these additional expenses, if any, the Court will order be paid. Most Chancellors agree the non-custodial parent will have some obligation for health insurance and uncovered expenses, and if either one of the parents has a college education, they are relatively close to their child, and the child is nearing college age, they may be required to contribute to the expenses. Use your imagination for other expenses a Judge may require a non-custodial parent to pay or share with the custodial parent, but be aware around the state what is fair and reasonable can often vary based on the tendencies of the sitting Chancellor.
We Can Help You
Your children, just like the recent events in your life, are unique. R+E can help by crafting an individualized child support plan specific to your family’s needs. Here is the way this works. Call our office (601-898-8655) or confidentially submit a basic intake form so our staff can complete a standard conflict check. That’s when we make sure nothing on this end will stand in the way of us being helpful. Then, we will schedule a time for you to talk to one or more of our attorneys to go over your situation.
FAQs related to Child Support
- How long is child support paid in Mississippi?
Child support is paid until a child obtains the age of 21 or is otherwise emancipated. Sometimes, parents can agree to their own rules about child support termination or extend child support due to a child's special needs or through their education.
- How much child support should I expect?
Child support in Mississippi is regulated by statute, so for most people the amount of child support that you should expect to receive/pay is fairly standard. The Mississippi child support guidelines state a parent paying child support should pay 14% of their adjusted gross income (which is basically income after mandatory deductions such as taxes and government assigned deductions) for one child, 20% of their adjusted gross income for two children, 22% of their adjusted gross income for three children, 24% of their adjusted gross income for four children, and 26% of their adjusted gross income for five or more children. However, these guidelines govern those parents making an adjusted gross income between $10,000 and $100,000. Child support paid by a parent earning an amount of money outside of this range can vary significantly.
- What is emancipation?
Emancipation always happens when a child (1) Attains the age of twenty-one (21) years, (2) Marries (3) Joins the military and serves on a full-time basis, or (4) Is convicted of a felony and is sentenced to incarceration of two (2) or more years for committing such felony.
Emancipation may happen if the child (1) Discontinues full-time enrollment in school having attained the age of eighteen (18) years, unless the child is disabled (2) Voluntarily moves from the home of the custodial parent or guardian, establishes independent living arrangements, obtains full-time employment and discontinues educational endeavors prior to attaining the age of twenty-one (21) years, or (3) Cohabits with another person without the approval of the parent obligated to pay support.