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New Hampshire Child Support Definitions

Definitions

"Adjusted gross income" means gross income less:

(a) Court-ordered or administratively ordered support actually paid to others, for adults or children;
(b) Fifty percent of actual self-employment tax paid;
(c) Mandatory, not discretionary, retirement contributions;
(d) Actual state income taxes paid; and
(e) Amounts actually paid by the obligor for allowable child care expenses or medical insurance coverage for the minor children to whom the child support order applies.

"Allowable child care expenses" means actual work-related child care expenses for the children to whom the order applies, up to no more than an annual total of $5,000 for one child, $9,000 for 2 children, and $12,000 for 3 or more children.

"Child support obligation" means the proportion of total support obligation which the obligor parent is ordered to pay in money to the obligee parent as child support.

"Court" means issuing authority, including the office of fair hearings, division of
human services, department of health and human services, having jurisdiction to issue a child support order.

"Gross income" means all income from any source, whether earned or unearned, including, but not limited to, wages, salary, commissions, tips, annuities, social security benefits, trust income, lottery or gambling winnings, interest, dividends, investment income, net rental income, self-employment income, alimony, business profits, pensions, bonuses, and payments from other government programs (except public assistance programs, including aid to families with dependent children, aid to the permanently and totally disabled, supplemental security income, food stamps, and general assistance received from a county or town), including, but not limited to, workers’ compensation, veterans’ benefits, unemployment benefits, and disability benefits, provided, however, that no income earned at an hourly rate for hours worked, on an occasional or seasonal basis, in excess of 40 hours in any week shall be considered as income for the purpose of determining gross income; and provided further that such hourly rate income is earned for actual overtime labor performed by an employee who earns wages at an hourly rate in a trade or industry which traditionally or commonly pays overtime wages, thus excluding professionals, business owners, business partners, self-employed individuals and others who may exercise sufficient control over their income so as to recharacterize payment to themselves to include overtime wages in addition to a salary. In addition, the following shall apply:

(a) The court, in its discretion, may consider as gross income the difference between the amount a parent is earning and the amount a parent has earned in cases where the parent voluntarily becomes unemployed or underemployed, unless the parent is physically or mentally incapacitated.
(b) The income of either parent’s current spouse shall not be considered as gross income to the parent unless the parent resigns from or refuses employment or is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, in which case the income of the spouse shall be imputed to the parent to the extent that the parent had earned income in his or her usual employment.

"Minimum support order" means an order of support equal to $50 per month.

"Net income" means the parents’ combined adjusted gross income less standard deductions published on an annual basis by the department of health and human services and based on federal Internal Revenue Service withholding table amounts for federal income tax, F.I.C.A., and Medicare, which an employer withholds from the monthly income of a single person who has claimed a withholding allowance for 2 people.

Obligor" means the parent responsible for the payment of child support under the terms of a child support order.

"Obligee" means the parent or person who receives the payment of child support under the terms of the child support order.

"Percentage" means the numerical figure that is applied to net income to determine the amount of child support.

"Self-support reserve" means the poverty level standard of need as established by the division of human services for a single individual living alone.

"Total support obligation" means net income multiplied by the appropriate
percentage derived from Child Support Formula

I. Number of Children Percentage of Net Income
1 25 percent
2 33 percent
3 40 percent
4 or more 45 percent

(a) The total support obligation shall be determined by multiplying the parents’ total net income, as defined in RSA 458-C:2, VI, by the appropriate percentage derived from this section.
(b) The total child support obligation shall be divided between the parents in
proportion to their respective incomes as adjusted by this section, except when
there are incurred by the obligee child care expenses or for the actual amount paid for medical insurance coverage for the minor children to whom the child support order applies.
(c) For those cases involving allowable child care expenses or medical insurance expenses incurred by the obligee, the same methodology described in subparagraphs (a) and (b) shall be used, except that as part of the determination of each parent’s share of the child support obligation, the obligee’s allowable child care expenses or medical insurance expenses shall be deducted from the adjusted gross income of the obligee.
(d) All child support obligations calculated pursuant to this chapter shall be rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

The number of children in the same household for which child support is paid is the determining factor in the percentage applied against net income.

Self-support reserve and minimum child support obligation.

(a) If the obligor parent’s gross income is less than the self-support reserve and the court has determined that the obligor is not voluntarily unemployed or
underemployed, the court shall order the child support obligation in the amount
of a minimum support order.
(b) If the obligor parent’s gross income is greater than the self-support reserve but payment of the order as calculated under this chapter would reduce the obligor parent’s income below the self-support reserve, the obligor parent’s share of the total support obligation shall be presumed to be the difference between the self- support reserve and that parent’s adjusted gross income, but in any event shall be no less than the amount of a minimum support order shall be applied in all child support cases including temporary orders, and in any order modifying a support order.

There shall be a rebuttable presumption in any proceeding for the award of child support that the amount of the award which would result from the application of guidelines provided under this chapter is the correct amount of child support. A written finding or a specific finding by the presiding officer on the record that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case, as determined by using the criteria set forth in RSA 458-C:5, shall be sufficient to rebut the presumption in such case.

When considering a request for an original support order or modification of a support order under this chapter, the court shall take into account any stepchildren for which either party may be responsible.

When arrangements for child support are delineated in an agreement between the parties, and not made according to guidelines provided under this chapter, the presiding officer shall determine whether the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust in such particular case, using the criteria set forth in RSA 458-C:5, and in certifying the agreement shall enter a written finding or a specific finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust and state the facts supporting such finding.

Adjustments to the Application of Guidelines Under Special Circumstances.

I. Special circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following, if raised by any party to the action or by the court, shall be considered and may result in adjustments in the application of support guidelines provided under this chapter. The court shall make written findings relative to the applicability of the following:
(a) ongoing extraordinary medical, dental or education expenses, including expenses related to the special needs of a child, incurred on behalf of the involved children;
(b) significantly high or low income of the obligee or obligor;
(c) the economic consequences of the presence of stepparents, stepchildren or natural or adopted children;
(d) Reasonable expenses incurred by the obligor parent in excercising visitation or physical custodial rights, or expenses incurred by such parent in extended visitation or physical custodial rights, provided that the reasonable expenses incurred by the obligee parent for the minor children can be met regardless of such adjustment;
(e) the economic consequences to either party of the disposition of a marital home made for the benefit of the child;
(f) the opportunity to optimize both parties’ after-tax income by taking into account federal tax consequences of an order of support;
(g) state tax obligations;
(h) split or shared custody arrangements;
(i) the economic consequences to either party of providing for the voluntary or court-ordered postsecondary educational expenses of a natural or adopted child;
(j) other special circumstances found by the court to avoid an unreasonably low or confiscatory support order, taking all relevant circumstances into consideration.