Tag Archives: adjusted gross income

Mississippi Legislature Considering Tweak to Child Support

There are a few Bills kicking around the legislature that would impact child support in Mississippi.

Senate Bill 2338 seeks to broaden the income levels that the child support guidelines are applied.  Currently, Child Support is a statutory amount (see Child Support blog) on income if your income is between $5k -$50k per year, adjusted gross income (AGI).  This bill seeks to increase the income range to $10k-$100k per year, AGI.

As the law is currently, if you make $50k per year, AGI, support for one child would be at least $585.  This figure is 14% of $50k and from there the Court could skew it upwards based on the needs of the child.  So, your obligation would likely be in a broad range from $585 -$1,200 per month, give or take, depending on your income.  This change would make the 14% apply directly to all sums over $50k up to $100k AGI.  So, support, at the least, would be $1,166.00 per month.  This likely would keep higher wage earners support in line with what they are already paying and is not a substantial change.

Senate Bill 2339 proposes a more significant change.  This skews upward all statutory amounts, as follows;

  • 1 Child  from 14% to 17%
  • 2 Children from 20% to 24%
  • 3 Children from 22% to 26%
  • 4 Children from 24% to 28%
  • 5 or more Children from 26% to 30%

So in the same example from above the parent that owed $585 would now owe $710 in support, and if both Bills pass then the amount could be $1,416 per month if the paying parent made $100k AGI.

Mississippi has some of the lowest rates nationally for child support, but also extends the obligation to (21), which is longer than most other states, which end support at 18 or 19.  SB 2339 also proposes to decrease the age for emancipation to 18, or 19, depending upon whether the child has finished high school.  This is a significant change in the law and would only apply to post July 1, 2013, Orders and Judgments.  Neither are law now and it does not appear there is a groundswell of support for either, those these changes would make Mississippi in line with most other states.

Stay tuned to see what the “Hissing Possums” pass.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that keeps abreast of the law and changes related thereto.  He also just used abreast and thereto in a sentence and twice referenced to hissing possums, as Saturday Night Live mockingly referred to the Mississippi Legislature.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer    Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.

 

Child Support; What you Owe

Mississippi Code Section § 43-19-101 specifically details the Child Support Award guidelines.

Number Of Children              Percentage Of Adjusted Gross Income   
1                                                             14%
2                                                            20%
3                                                            22%
4                                                            24%
5 or more                                        26%

Basically you take your gross income for the year and subtract state and federal taxes, and mandatory deductions.  This leaves you with your adjusted gross income. Divide this amount by 12.  This equals your monthly adjusted gross income.  Multiply this number by the appropriate percentage and that is the amount of child support you owe.  For example. Let’s say that you make $3,250 per month, gross. First, deduct state and federal taxes, Social Security and Medicare. (State $125, Federal $200, Soc Sec. $180, Medicare $47 = $552.00 in deductions.) $3,250.00 – 552.00= $2,698.00.  Multiply this by 14%.  $2,698.00 x .14= $377.72  Your monthly obligation is $380 in child support.

Below is the paraphrased statute and includes more detailed information for child support calculations.
The amount of “adjusted gross income” as that term is used in subsection (1) of this section shall be calculated as follows:
  1)  Determine gross income

What is counted towards “gross income” income for child support purposes?

  • 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
  • (Not to be Counted) However, gross income shall exclude any monetary benefits derived from a second household, such as income of the absent parent’s current spouse;

2) Subtract the following legally mandated deductions:

  • Federal, state and local taxes;
  • Social security contributions;
  • Retirement and disability contributions (except any voluntary retirement and disability contributions* and most are voluntary*);
  • If the absent parent is subject to an existing court order for another child or children, subtract the amount of that court-ordered support;
  •  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;

3) Compute the total annual amount of adjusted gross income based on the above,

4) Divide this amount by twelve (12) to obtain the monthly amount of adjusted gross income.

5)  Multiply the monthly amount of adjusted gross income by the appropriate percentage

**The statute applies in cases in which the adjusted gross income as defined in this section is more than  One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($ 100,000.00) or less than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), 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.** (The figures above were changed by the MS legislature in the 2013 session from $5k-$50k, the above figures are the current amounts)

What else is included over and above child support?

6) All orders involving support of minor children, as a matter of law, shall include reasonable medical support. Notice to the obligated parent’s employer that medical support has been ordered shall be on a form as prescribed by the Department of Human Services. In any case in which the support of any child is involved, the court shall make the following findings either on the record or in the judgment:

(a) The availability to all parties of health insurance coverage for the child(ren);
(b) The cost of health insurance coverage to all parties.

The court shall then make appropriate provisions in the judgment for the provision of health insurance coverage for the child(ren) in the manner that is in the best interests of the child(ren). If the court requires the custodial parent to obtain the coverage then its cost shall be taken into account in establishing the child support award. If the court determines that health insurance coverage is not available to any party or that it is not available to either party at a cost that is reasonable as compared to the income of the parties, then the court shall make specific findings as to such either on the record or in the judgment. In that event, the court shall make appropriate provisions in the judgment for the payment of medical expenses of the child(ren) in the absence of health insurance coverage.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and encourages you to have an attorney review your support obligations annually.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

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