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Nebraska Child Support Definitions

NEBRASKA CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

A. Introduction. The main principle behind these guidelines is to recognize the equal duty of both parents to contribute to the support of their children in proportion to their respective net incomes.

B. Temporary and Permanent Support. The guidelines are intended to be used for both temporary and permanent support determinations.

C. Rebuttable Presumption. The child support guidelines shall be applied as a rebuttable presumption. All orders for child support obligations shall be established in accordance with the provisions of the guidelines unless the court finds that one or both parties have produced sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that the guidelines should be applied. All stipulated agreements for child support must be reviewed against the guidelines and, if a deviation exists and is approved by the court, specific findings giving the reason for the deviation must be made. Findings must state the amount of support that would have been required under the guidelines and include a justification of why the order varies from the guidelines. Deviations must take into consideration the best interests of the child. In the event of a deviation, the reason for the deviation shall be contained in the findings portion of the decree or order; or worksheet 5 should be completed by the court and filed in the court file. Deviations from the guidelines are permissible under the following circumstances:

1. when there are extraordinary medical costs of either parent or child;
2. when special needs of a disabled child exist;
3. if total net income exceeds $10,000 monthly, child support for amounts in excess of $10,000 monthly may be more but shall not be less than the amount which would be computed using the $10,000 monthly income unless other permissible deviations exist;
4. for juveniles placed in foster care; or
5. whenever the application of the guidelines in an individual case would be unjust or inappropriate.

D. Total Monthly Income. This is income of both parties derived from all sources, except all means-tested public assistance benefits and payments received for children of prior marriages. If a party is self-employed, depreciation claimed on tax returns should be added back to income or loss from the business or farm to arrive at an annualized total monthly income. If applicable, earning capacity may be considered in lieu of a parent’s actual, present income and may include factors such as work history, education, occupational skills, and job opportunities. Earning capacity is not limited to wage-earning capacity, but includes moneys available from all sources.

E. Deductions. The following deductions should be annualized to arrive at monthly net income:

1. Taxes. Standard deductions applicable to the number of exemptions provided by law will be used to establish the amount of federal and state income taxes.
2. FICA. Social security deductions, or any other mandatory contributions in lieu of social security deductions.
3. Health Insurance. The increased cost to the parent for health insurance for the child(ren) of the parent shall be allowed as a deduction from gross income. The parent requesting an adjustment for health insurance premiums must submit proof of the cost of the premium.
4. Mandatory Retirement. Individual contributions, in a minimum amount required by the plan.
5. Child Support. Child support previously ordered for other children.

F. Child-Care Expenses. Child-care expenses are not specifically computed into the guidelines amount and are to be considered independently of any amount computed by use of these guidelines. Child-care expenses for the child for whom the support is being set, which are due to employment of either parent or to allow the parent to obtain training or education necessary to obtain a job or enhance earning potential, shall be divided between the parents in proportion to their parental contribution (worksheet 1, line 6) and shall be added to the basic support obligation computed under these guidelines. The value of the federal income tax credit for child care may be subtracted from actual costs to arrive at a figure for net child-care expenses.

G. Health Care. Children’s health care needs are to be met by requiring either parent to provide health insurance as required by state law, and the court may apportion all nonreimbursed children’s health care costs between the parents according to the same formula used to determine each parent’s share of support.

H. Review. The State Court Administrator shall review the Nebraska Child Support Guidelines not less than every 4 years, beginning in October 1993, and recommend revisions, if any, to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

I. Basic Subsistence Limitation. A parent’s support, child care, and health care obligation shall not reduce his or her net income below the minimum of $696 net monthly for one person, or the poverty guidelines updated annually in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.