Rhode Island Child Support Definitions

At the Courts Discretion the following Optional Adjustments can be made to the monthly gross income of each parent.

1. A deduction for payments to a pension or retirement plan.

2. A deduction for life insurance premium payments.

3. A deduction for parents extraordinary medical expenses.

4. A deduction for income tax exemptions adjustment.

5. A deduction for payments of assigned marital debt.

Child Support - General Provisions

In a proceeding for divorce, divorce from bed and board, a miscellaneous petition without the filing of divorce proceedings, or child support, the court shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child to pay an amount based upon a formula and guidelines adopted by an administrative order of the family court. If, after calculating support based upon court established formula and
guidelines, the court, in its discretion, finds the order would be inequitable to the child or either parent, the court shall make findings of fact and shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to pay an amount reasonable or necessary for the child’s support after considering all relevant factors including, but not limited to:

(1) The financial resources of the child;
(2) The financial resources of the custodial parent;
(3) The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
(4) The physical and emotional condition of the child and his educational needs; and
(5) The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

The court may, if in its discretion it deems it necessary or advisable, order child support and education costs for children attending high school at the time of their eighteenth birthday and for ninety (90) days after graduation, but in no case beyond their nineteenth (19th) birthday. In addition, the court may order child support to continue, in the case of a child with a severe physical or mental impairment, until the twenty-first (21st) birthday of the child.

Any order for child support issued by the family court shall contain a provision requiring either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child to obtain health insurance coverage for the child when coverage is available to the parent or parents through their employment without cost or at a reasonable cost.

Child Support Guidelines - General Provisions

In fixing the amount of support or reimbursement which the parents shall be ordered to pay, the court shall take into account the following factors:

(1) All earnings, income, and resources of the parent including real and personal property;
(2) The earnings potential of the parent;
(3) The reasonable necessities of the parent;
(4) The needs of the child for whom support is sought;
(5) The reasonable expenditures of the custodial agency for the support and maintenance of the child;
(6) The existence and needs of other dependents of the parent;
(7) Any other factors which bear upon the needs of the child and the ability of the parent to provide financial support for those needs.

Definition of Gross Income:

Gross Income includes , but is not limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, gifts, prizes, alimony or maintenance received, self-employment or business income including rents and royalties (defined as gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses), expense reimbursements or in kind payments received in the course of employment such a s a company car, free housing or reimbursed meetings (if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses, and all other forms of earned or unearned income.

Specifically excluded from gross income are benefits received from means-tested public assistance programs, including but not limited to, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, and General Public Assistance.