Providence Family Court attorney, David Slepkow answers several important child support frequently asked questions about RI law. Child support in RI terminates when a child attains the age of 18 unless they are still in high school. This post also addresses issues concerning daycare, overtime and college.
My child is about to turn 18 but is still in high school and living at home, can I still get child support?
Child support in Rhode Island should end when a child reaches the age of 18 years old and graduates high school. If the child of the parties is still finishing high school at his or her 18th birthday, then support shall not stop until the child attains the age of nineteen years old (19). Child support in RI and Providence Plantations continues after the child attains the age of 18 unless a Motion to terminate support is filed in Rhode Island Family Court. If you are the parent obligated to pay child support then your best option is to file a Motion to Terminate Child Support approximately 40 days prior to your child turning 18 and graduating high school. There is no legal obligation for a parent to pay for college unless there is a property settlement agreement in the divorce obligating the parent to pay.
This will mean that the motion will be heard on a court date soon after the child turns 18. Please note that the non-possessory parent can still be found in contempt for failure to pay child support even after the child turns 18 if there is no motion granted to terminate the child support. If a child is seriously disabled, child support may continue for the child’s entire life. If your child is seriously disabled please contact me becuase you need to file a motion to have your child support extended.
What if my child’s parent works overtime? Will overtime be included in child support?
Overtime will usually be used to calculate child support in RI. Judges in Rhode Island will typically look at whether or not a person consistently works overtime over a substantial period of time. Judges may also look at whether or not overtime is consistently offered to a spouse. If overtime is infrequent or not typically offered Judges may be hesitant to calculate overtime as a factor of child support. 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. By calculating gross income over an entire calendar year even infrequent overtime becomes an element of child support.Judges may also look at other factors such as the needs and expenses of both parties and any extraordinary expenses for the child. Often the issue of overtime is negotiated by the lawyers prior to any formal ruling by the Judge.
Can I get my child’s father to be ordered to pay for my child’s college education?
In Rhode Island the Court has no jurisdiction to order a parent to pay for the college education of his/her child. However, if pursuant to a Property Settlement Agreement or other contract, one party agrees to pay for a child’s education, then that agreement may be enforced by a court of law. Therefore, if you seek to have your child’s parent pay for your child’s college education, then you must negotiate payment of college expenses as part of a global settlement of the divorce or custody agreement or other similar agreement.
Who is going to pay for my child’s daycare?
The Rhode Island minimum child support guidelines take into account both the importance and expense of daycare. The child support guidelines and worksheet are used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid by the non-possessory parent. The bottom line is that a party will be ordered to pay approximately the same percentage of the daycare that the party makes in relation to that party’s percentage of the combined gross income of both parties.
For example: If the husband makes $100,000.00 and the wife makes $50,000.00 the combined gross income for the parties is $150,000.00. Therefore, the husband makes 66 percent of the income and will be ordered to pay 66 percent of the daycare in addition to child support. (There may be an adjustment to take into account the federal tax credit.) This amount is added onto the minimum Child Support Guidelines amount.
How do I modify, increase or terminate child support in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island child support can only be modified if there is a substantial change of circumstances. In order to get a substantial change of circumstances, the child support amount must be 10 percent more or less than the old child support order. The change in circumstances could result from loss of a job, increase of income of either party, new dependents, loss of overtime, unemployment, a disability, etc.
“According to the law, either parent may request that the Rhode Island Family Court modify the child support order. However, the party requesting the modification, must show a substantial change in circumstances.” State of Rhode Island, office of Child Support Enforcement, Department of Human Sevices http://www.cse.ri.gov/services/modifying_order.php
- “About 85 percent of child support providers were male and 15 percent were female.
- Annual child support payments averaged $5,450 from male providers and $3,500 from female providers.
- About three of every four child support providers had some type of an agreement or court order for support.
- About six-in-10 child support providers paid support for one child, three-in-10 supported two children, and the remaining one-in-10 supported three or more children.
- About 2.1 million providers supported people other than their children younger than 21, with 32 percent of these providing support for their parents.” United States Census Bureau 2010 http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/children/cb12-109.html
More Child Support info here