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New Child Support Guidelines

The New Hampshire Legislature passed an amendment changing the child support guidelines pursuant to RSA 458-C:3,

effective July 1, 2013. The new guidelines do not qualify as a "change in circumstance" warranting a review of your current child support, but if you are due for a three year review or have another substantial change in circumstances that may warrant a review of your child support, then your child support amount may drastically change.

The new guidelines make two major changes to the prior child support guidelines. First, the non-paying parent, or obligee's, income is now factored more heavily into the child support guidelines on an "income shares" model. The calculation is complex, but the non-paying parent's income impacts the final child support obligation more directly as a percentage of the parties' combined gross monthly income. Accordingly, the non-paying parent's employment status, especially if he or she is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, is more of an issue under the new guidelines.

Secondly, the child support guideline percentage amount, which used to be a fixed rate of 25% for one child, 33% for two children, etc, is now a sliding scale with the rates based on the combined adjusted monthly gross income of both parties. The scale starts at 25.6% for one child, 35.5% for two children, 42.5% for three children and 45% for four or more children for parties with a combined monthly gross income below $1,110.00 per month, or approximately $13,300.00 per year. The scale adjusts for every $10 increment of combined monthly gross income and tops out at rates of 19% for one child, 26% for two children, 31% for three children and 33.5% for four or more children at combined monthly gross incomes of $14,480.00 per month, or approximately $173,760.00 per year, and higher. The parties combined monthly gross income is used with the Child Support Guidelines Calculation Table, available from the Division of Child Support Services, to determine the child support guidelines percentage and amount.

The self-support reserve remains at $1,101.00 per month. The statute still permits adjustments to the guidelines amount pursuant to RSA 458-C:5, either upwards or downwards, for the reasons enumerated in the statute.

For more information about the new child support guidelines, including whether or not your own child support may be changed as a result, please contact the family law team at Martin, Lord & Osman.

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