Idaho Child Support Definitions
The Child Support Guidelines are intended to give specific guidance for evaluating evidence in child support proceedings. Acknowledging there are diverse needs and resources in individual cases, the following Guidelines will produce a more equitable and uniform approach in establishing child support obligations. The Guidelines may be referred to as the Idaho Child Support Guidelines (I.C.S.G.).
The Guidelines apply to determinations of child support obligations in all judicial proceedings that address the issue of child support for children under the age of eighteen years or children pursuing high school education up to the age of nineteen years. Support for post-secondary education after age eighteen is beyond these Guidelines.
Function of Guidelines.
The Guidelines are premised upon the following general assumptions: (a) the costs of rearing a child are reasonably related to family income, and the proportion of family income allocated to child support remains relatively constant in relation to total household expenditures at all income levels; (b) in relation to gross income, there is a gradual decline in that proportion as income increases; (c) the Guidelines amount is the appropriate average amount of support during the minority of the child at a given parental income, so that age-specific expenses do not alter the Guidelines amount. These assumptions may not be accurate in all cases. The amount resulting from the application of the Guidelines is the amount of child support to be awarded unless evidence establishes that amount to be inappropriate. In such case the court shall set forth on the record the dollar amount of support that the Guidelines would require and set forth the circumstances justifying departure from the Guidelines; and (d) child support received and the custodial parent’s share of support are spent on the child(ren).
Basic Guideline Principles.
These Child Support Guidelines are premised upon the following basic principles to guide parents, lawyers, and courts in arriving at child support obligations:
(a) Both parents share legal responsibility for supporting their child. That legal responsibility should be divided in proportion to their Guidelines Income, whether they be separated, divorced, remarried, or never married.
(b) In any proceeding where child support is under consideration, child support shall be given priority over the needs of the parents or creditors in allocating family resources. Only after careful scrutiny should the court delay implementation of the Guidelines amount because of debt assumption.
(c) Support shall be determined without regard to the gender of the custodial parent.
(d) Rarely should the child support obligation be set at zero. If the monthly income of the paying parent is below $800.00, the Court should carefully review the incomes and living expenses to determine the maximum amount of support that can reasonably be ordered without denying a parent the means for self-support at a minimum subsistence level. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a minimum amount of support is at least $50.00 per month per child.
The amount of child support provided for under these Guidelines may constitute a substantial and material change of circumstances for granting a motion for modification for child support obligations. A support order may also be modified to provide for health insurance not provided in the support order.
Income Determination--Income Defined.
For purposes of these Guidelines, Guidelines Income shall include: (a) the gross income of the parents and (b) if applicable, fringe benefits and/or potential income; less adjustments.
(a) Gross Income Defined.
(1) Gross income.
(i) Gross income includes income from any source, and includes, but is not limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, social security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, alimony, maintenance, any veteran’s benefits received, education grants, scholarships, other financial aid and disability and retirement payments to or on behalf of a child. The court may consider when and for what duration the receipt of funds from gifts, prizes, net proceeds from property sales, severance pay, and judgments will be considered as available for child support. Benefits received from public assistance programs for the parent shall be included except in cases of extraordinary hardship. Child support received is assumed to be spent on the child and is not income to the parent.
(ii) Compensation received by a party for employment in excess of a 40-hour week shall be excluded from gross income provided the party demonstrates and the Court finds: (1) the excess employment is voluntary and not a condition of employment, (2) the excess employment is in the nature of additional, part-time employment or is employment compensable as overtime pay by the hour or fractions of the hour, (3) the party’s compensation structure has not been changed for the purpose of affecting a support or maintenance obligation, (4) the party is otherwise paid for full-time employment at least 48 weeks per year, and (5) child support payments are calculated based upon current income. This provision is intended to benefit those who already work a full-time job and undertake voluntary, additional employment. It is not intended to benefit self-employed individuals who maywork more than 40 hours per week, those that may be seasonably employed in more than one job (none of which is full time), those who may be employed in excess of 40 hours per week for part of the year but are not employed full time for most of the year, nor those whose employer regularly requires overtime as part of their employment.
(2) Rents and business income. For rents, royalties, or income derived from a trade or business (whether carried on as a sole proprietorship, partnership or closely held corporation), gross income is defined as gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to carry on the trade or business or to earn rents and royalties. Excluded from ordinary and necessary expenses under these Guidelines are expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support. In general, income and expenses from self-employment or operation of a business should be carefully reviewed to determine the level of gross income of the parent to satisfy a child support obligation. This amount may differ from a determination of business income for tax purposes. Additionally, specifically permitted are the following deductions, unless, in the sole discretion of the Court, permitting any or all of such deductions would result in an unequitable or inappropriate amount of child support in view of all the circumstances:
(A) Straight line depreciation for the life of the asset.
(B) One-half of the self-employment social security tax paid on the trade or business income.
(3) Income of parents and spouse. Gross income ordinarily shall not include a parent’s community property interest in the financial resources or obligations of a spouse who is not a parent of the child, unless compelling reasons exist.
(4) Contributions to living expenses. Where a parent derives a benefit through contribution to living expenses of the parent or children, e.g., from parents, spouse or others, or by sharing expenses, the court shall not consider the benefit to the parent as an available resource, unless compelling reasons exist.
(5) Fringe Benefits Defined. Fringe benefits received by a parent in the course of employment, or operation of a trade or business shall be counted as income if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses. Such fringe benefits might include a company car, free housing, or room and board.
(6) Potential Income. (1) Potential earned income. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support shall be based on gross potential income, except that potential income should not be included for a parent that is physically or mentally incapacitated. A parent shall not be deemed underemployed if gainfully employed on a full-time basis at the same or similar occupation in which he/she was employed for more than six months before the filing of the action or separation of the parties, whichever occurs first. Ordinarily, a parent shall not be deemed underemployed if the parent is caring for a child not more than 6 months of age. Determination of potential income shall be made according to any or all of the following methods, as
(A) Determine employment potential and probable earnings level based on the parent’s work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in the community.
(B) Where a parent is a student, potential monthly income during the school term may be determined by considering student loans from any source.
(7) Potential unearned income. If a parent has assets that do not currently produce income, or that have been voluntarily transferred or placed in a condition or situation to reduce earnings, the court may attribute reasonable monetary value of income to the assets so that an adequate award of child support may be made.
Adjustments to Gross Income.
Alimony, Maintenance, and Other Child Support Obligations.
(1) Other court orders. A deduction shall be allowed from Gross Income for payment being made pursuant to any other court order for child support from another relationship or spousal maintenance in the amount of the payments currently being made.
(2) Support paid without court order. A deduction shall be allowed from Gross Income for payments without court order currently being made (or an average thereof, if amounts vary) for the support of a child from another relationship where that parent has established a regular pattern of payment.
(3) Support of other children living in home. Because the custodial parent’s share of support is presumed to be spent directly on the child, a deduction shall be allowed from Gross Income when a natural or adopted child of another relationship resides in the home of either parent. The deduction shall be the Guideline support amount calculated for that child, using only that parent’s income.
Adjustments to the Award of Child Support.
(a) Child Care Costs. A basic child support award does not cover work-related child care expenses. The court may order an additional amount to cover reasonable net child care expenses (reasonable child care costs minus child care tax credits) up to a pro-rata sharing of the expenses in proportion to their Guideline Income.
(b) Tax Benefits. The actual federal and state income tax benefits recognized by the party entitled to claim the Federal Child Dependency Exemption should be considered in making a child support award. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the court should assign the dependency exemption(s) to the parent who has the greater income and calculate the tax benefit to each parent from the table below using the marital status and guidelines income of each parent at the time of the child support award calculation. The tax benefit to each parent shall be calculated from the table below using the marital status and guidelines income of each parent at the time of the child support award calculation.
The parent not receiving the exemption(s) is entitled to a pro rata share of the income tax benefit or child tax credit in proportion to his/her share of the guidelines income. The pro rata share of the income tax benefit will be either a credit against or in addition to the basic child support obligation and shall be included in the child support order.
(c) Health insurance premiums and health care expenses not covered by insurance. (1) For each child support order, consideration should be given to provision of adequate health insurance coverage for the child. Such health insurance should normally be provided by the parent that can obtain suitable coverage through an employer at the lower cost. The actual cost paid by either party for health insurance premiums or for health care expenses for the children not covered or paid in full by insurance, including, but not limited to orthodontic, optical, and dental, shall be prorated between the parents in proportion to their Guidelines Income. These payments shall be in addition to the child support award and will be paid directly between the parties. The pro rata share of the monthly insurance premium may instead be either a credit against or in addition to the basic child support obligation.
(d) Any claimed health care expense for the children (whether denominated as psychiatric, psychological, special education, addiction treatment, or counseling in any form and including regular medical or dental care), whether or not covered by insurance, which would result in an actual out-of-pocket expense of over $500 to the parent who did not incur or consent to the expense, must be approved in advance, in writing, by both parties or by prior court order. Relief may be granted by the Court for failure to comply under extraordinary circumstances and the Court may, in its discretion, apportion the incurred expense in some percentage other than that in the existing support order and in so doing, may consider whether consent was unreasonably requested or withheld.