Determination of child support can be tricky. If the payment amount is too high, you may not be able to afford it. On the other hand, if it is too low, it will not be sufficient to provide for your children’s needs.
To further complicate matters, the rules that govern child support determination vary by state. In Mississippi, chancery judges have the responsibility to determine child support amounts based on guidelines provided by the state.
Number of children
According to the Clarion Ledger, the more children that you have, the larger percentage of your income state guidelines recommend should go to child support. However, these are only guidelines and there is nothing to prevent a chancery judge from deviating from them when making the determination. The recommended percentages based on number of children are as follows:
- Five or more children: 26%
- Four children: 24%
- Three children: 22%
- Two children: 20%
- One child: 14%
Adjusted gross income
If you are the noncustodial parent, the chancery judge starts by considering your gross income. This includes sources such as workers’ compensation and other benefits, dividends and interest, as well as your regular salary or wages. The chancery judge then calculates your adjusted gross income by applying certain deductions.
Mississippi is one of a handful of states that only considers the income of the noncustodial parent, i.e., the one paying child support, when determining an amount. As it has become more common for both parents to work, most states now consider both parents’ income in determining a fair amount. A bill proposed in the state legislature in 2019 could have changed the criteria for making the determination. However, it died early in the session.