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Mississippi Child Support Definitions

(1) The following child support award guidelines shall be a rebuttable presumption in all judicial or administrative proceedings regarding the awarding or modifying of child support awards in this state:

Child/Percentage
1 - 14%
2 - 20%
3 - 22%
4 - 24%
5 or more -26%

(2) The guidelines provided for in subsection (1) of this section apply unless the judicial or administrative body awarding or modifying the child support award makes a written finding or specific finding on the record that the
application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case as determined under the criteria specified in Section 43-19-103.

(3) The amount of "adjusted gross income" as that term is used in subsection (1) of this section shall be calculated as follows:

(a) Determine gross income from all potential sources that may reasonably be expected to be available to the absent parent including, but not limited to, the following: wages and salary income; income from self employment; income from commissions; income from investments, including dividends, interest income and income on any trust account or property; absent parent’s portion of any joint income of both parents; workers’ compensation, disability, unemployment, annuity and retirement benefits, including an individual retirement account (IRA); any other payments made by any person, private entity, federal or state government or any unit of local government; alimony; any income earned from an interest in or from inherited property; any other form of earned income; and gross income shall exclude any monetary benefits derived from a second household, such as income of the absent parent’s current spouse;

(b) Subtract the following legally mandated deductions:

(i) Federal, state and local taxes. Contributions to the payment of taxes over and beyond the actual liability for the taxable year shall not be considered a mandatory deduction;

(ii) Social security contributions;

(iii) Retirement and disability contributions except any voluntary retirement and disability contributions;

(c) If the absent parent is subject to an existing court order for another child or children, subtract the amount of that
court-ordered support;

(d) If the absent parent is also the parent of another child or other children residing with him, then the court may subtract an amount that it deems appropriate to account for the needs of said child or children;

(e) Compute the total annual amount of adjusted gross income based on paragraphs (a) through (d), then divide this amount by twelve (12) to obtain the monthly amount of adjusted gross income.

Upon conclusion of the calculation of paragraphs (a) through (e), multiply the monthly amount of adjusted gross income by the appropriate percentage designated in subsection (1) to arrive at the amount of the monthly child support award.

(4) In cases in which the adjusted gross income as defined in this section is more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) or less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), the court shall make a written finding in the record as to whether or not the application of the guidelines established in this section is reasonable.

(5) The Department of Human Services shall review the appropriateness of these guidelines beginning January 1, 1994, and every four (4) years thereafter and report its findings to the Legislature no later than the first day of the regular legislative session of that year. The Legislature shall thereafter amend these guidelines when it finds that amendment is necessary to ensure that equitable support is being awarded in all cases involving the support of minor children.

RESEARCH REFERENCES
ALR. Change in financial condition or needs of parents or children as ground for modification of decree for child
support payments. 89 A.L.R.2d 7.

Excessiveness or adequacy of money awarded as child support. 27 A.L.R.4th 864.

Excessiveness or adequacy of amount of money awarded for alimony and child support combined. 27 A.L.R.4th 1038.

Application of child-support guidelines to cases of joint-, split- or similar shared-custody arrangements. 57 A.L.R.5th 389.

AM JUR. 24 Am. Jur. 2d, Divorce and Separation 1018 et seq.

LAW REVIEWS. 1989 Mississippi Supreme Court Review: Child Support. 59 Miss. L. J. 891, Winter, 1989.


DEVIATION FROM GUIDELINES.

Where the chancellor awarded no child support in connection with an award of split custody, but did not cite the statute in reasoning its deviation from the guidelines, the matter would be remanded for the chancellor to specifically reference, in writing, why the statutory guidelines were inappropriate or unjust. Brocato v. Brocato, 731 So. 2d 1138 (Miss. 1999).

FINDINGS OF FACT.

Under subsection (2) of this section, an on-the-record finding as to the applicability of the child support guidelines is required on both the initial award of child support and any subsequent modification of child support. Turner v. Turner, -- So. 2d -- (Miss. Ct. App. 1999).

NEEDS OF OTHER CHILDREN.

Subsection (3)(d) of this section does not allow for a deduction for children of a noncustodial parent’s subsequent spouse. Kilgore v. Fuller, 741 So. 2d 351 (Miss. Ct. App. 1999).

MODIFICATION OF SUPPORT.

The chancellor erred in not referencing the statutory guidelines in making his specific findings of fact regarding an increase in child support. Wallace v. Bond, -- So. 2d -- (Miss. 1999).

The court erred in increasing the amount of child support to be paid by a father for his teenage daughter where the guidelines provided for an award of 14 percent of the father’s adjusted gross income and the award was 22 percent of his adjusted gross income. Kilgore v. Fuller, 741 So. 2d 351 (Miss. Ct. App. 1999).

RETROACTIVITY OF AWARD.

The court properly made a modification of child support retroactive to the date that the petition was filed, rather than the date the order was entered, notwithstanding that the modification was based in part on an annual bonus received after the date that the petition was filed; the chancellor was justified in including the bonus received in July in the appellant’s income for the whole year, not just for the latter half of the year. Alderson v. Morgan ex rel. Champion, 739 So. 2d 465 (Miss. Ct. App. 1999).

CHILD SUPPORT PRINCIPLES AND SUMMARY

Child support may be ordered as the court finds just and equitable. Where both parents have income or estates, each parent may be ordered to provide support in proportion to his or her relative financial ability. A parent may be required to provide health insurance coverage for the child, if such insurance coverage is available at a reasonable cost through an employer or organization. Bond or sureties may be required to guarantee payments. [Mississippi Code Annotated; Section 93, Chapters 5-23, and 11-65].