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Delaware Child Support Definitions

Introduction

(excerpted from Child Support Instructions by the Family Court of Delaware)

The Family Court of the State of Delaware has established the Delaware Child Support Formula under Civil Rule 52(c). This formula outlines the procedure for determining child support awards in the state of Delaware. The formula is
based on the following principles:

Each parent is entitled to keep a minimum amount of income for their basic needs.

The child(ren)Ďs basic needs are taken care of before the parents may retain any additional income.

If income is available after the primary needs of the parents and child(ren) are taken care of, the child(ren) is (are) entitled to share in any additional income of the parents.

In determining each parentís child support obligation the Court considers each parentís ability to pay. Ability to pay includes: the health, income and financial circumstances and earning capacity of the parties, the manner of living to which the parties have been accustomed when they were living under the same roof and the general equities inherent in the situation are also considered.

Definition of Income.

Monthly Gross Earned Income: Monthly Gross Earned Income includes income from salaries, wages, commissions, and bonuses; and income from self employment. Document all earned income with the most recent tax returns and W-2 Forms.

Monthly Gross Other Income: Monthly Gross Other Income includes but is not limited to dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, veteranís benefits, workersí compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, gifts, prizes, and alimony or maintenance received. Expense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business should be counted as other income if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses. Such payments might include a company car, free housing, or reimbursed meals.

Note: Any social security disability benefits as well as pension/disability benefits issued by private corporations paid directly to a minor child (included in this support action) on behalf of a disabled parent shall be added to the disabled parentí s income. That parent will then receive a dollar-for-dollar credit off of the support obligation for these payments received by the child. When a child receives social security disability benefits on his/her/own behalf, they shall be counted as income of the custodial parent or the parent receiving the benefits on behalf of the child(ren). Social Security benefits of children who are not included in the child support order will not be included.

Exclusions from income: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if it goes to the parents, and Food Stamps (FS). Attributed Income: When an able parent is not working full time or is working below full earning capacity, determine why there is a limitation on earnings. If the obligor has voluntarily chosen to earn less than his/her capacity the Court will attribute income.

Deductions from Income.

Medical Insurance. the cost of monthly medical insurance premiums paid by either parent, regardless of persons covered by the policy.

Qualified Retirement Plan. the amount deducted for pension or, if the employer offers no pension plan, voluntary contribution to a 401(k) or similar IRS approved retirement plan, up to 3% of gross income.

Union Dues.

Other. the monthly amount of any court ordered alimony payments to the other parent, and if not already deducted from gross income, allowable business expenses if the person is self-employed or required by his/her
employer to purchase supplies etc.

PRIMARY SUPPORT NEED

The Court has established minimum levels of income needed to support one or more children. This primary support allowance is added to any work related child care expenses. Each parentís share of the child(ren)Ďs primary support need is based on each parents share of net income available.

Monthly Child Care Expenses. the actual Monthly Child Care Expenses that are the result of a parent working. Document these expenses with receipts from payments for care. No hypothetical or attributed child care costs are permitted.

Other. the other necessary monthly expenses incurred because of special needs of the child(ren).

STANDARD OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT (SOLA)

When there is income available after the parents have met their own and any of their dependents primary support needs, the SOLA adjustment is made. SOLA is designed to give the child(ren) a share in each parentís economic well
being similar to what the child(ren) would have received if the parents had remained together.