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Rhode Island Child Support Law FAQS – Daycare, Overtime, Modification, College, Termination
1) What if my child’s parents work overtime? Does overtime pay count toward child support?
Rhode Island has no standard laws or rules regarding whether overtime pay for non-possessing parents is used to calculate child support. A Rhode Island judge has consistently ruled that overtime pay cannot be used to calculate child support.
Other judges in Rhode Island have a different view on overtime. Family Court is a fair and just court. Rhode Island judges typically look at whether a person has worked overtime consistently over a substantial period of time. The judge can also see whether the spouse has always been paid overtime. Judges may be hesitant to count overtime as a factor in child support if overtime is rarely or typically not provided. In that case, many attorneys argue that a person’s income should be calculated using their W2 or gross income for the entire calendar year. Even infrequent overtime becomes an element of child support by calculating gross earnings for the entire calendar year.
The judge may also consider other factors, such as the needs and expenses of both parties and any special expenses for the child. At least one judge has suggested that possessive parents get a percentage of the overtime that non-possessive parents get. Other Rhode Island judges have argued that overtime should always be a factor in child support. Lawyers often negotiate overtime before the judge makes any formal rulings.
2) My child is turning 18 but is still in high school and living at home, will I still get child support?
Under Rhode Island law, child support ends when the child turns 18 and graduates from high school. If the child is still in high school, child support will continue until the child turns 19.
Rhode Island child support continues automatically even after the child turns 18 unless a motion to terminate child support is filed. If you are a non-possessing parent, your best option is to contact an attorney to file a motion to terminate child support approximately 40 days before your child turns 18 and graduates from high school. This means the motion will be heard on the court date shortly after the child turns 18. Note that no motion to terminate child support is granted even after the child turns 18. If the child is severely disabled, maintenance will continue until the child turns 21.
3) Can I ask my child’s father to pay for my child’s college education?
In Rhode Island, courts do not have the authority to order parents to pay for their children’s college education. However, if, under a property settlement agreement or other contract, one party agrees to pay for the child’s education, the agreement can be enforced by the courts. So if you want your child’s parents to pay for your child’s college education, then you must negotiate paying for college as part of an overall settlement in a divorce or custody agreement or other similar agreement.
4) Who will pay for my child’s day care?
The Rhode Island Minimum Child Support Guidelines take into account the importance and cost of day care. The Child Support Guide and Worksheet is used to determine the appropriate amount of child support to be paid by non-possessing property parents. On top of that, one party will be ordered to pay daycare expenses roughly equal to that party’s percentage of both parties’ gross income.
Example: If the husband earns $100,000.00 and the wife earns $50,000.00, the total income of both parties is $150,000.00. So the husband earns 66% of the income and will be ordered to pay 66% of the day care fees in addition to child support. (Adjustments may be made to account for federal tax credits.) This amount will be added to the minimum child support guideline amount.
5) How do I modify, increase or end child support in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, child support payments can only be modified if circumstances change significantly. To get a substantial change of circumstances, the child support amount must be 10% more or less than the old child support order. Changes in circumstances may be due to unemployment, increased income for either party, new dependents, loss of overtime, job loss, disability, etc.
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