MississippiChild Support Laws
Mississippi Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
What Is Child Support?
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Mississippi has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Mississippi, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
Mississippi Child Support Court Considerations Table
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Mississippi Child Support Law Summary
Mississippi is one of the minority of states that uses the "percentage of income" method for calculating child support payments.
In the event of parents sharing custody of a child, the Mississippi judge who sets child support may deviate from the basic child support formula to account for this. Other special situations accounted for under Mississippi's child support law include childcare costs, extraordinary medical costs and college costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Mississippi child support order.
Contributions to the payment of taxes over and beyond the actual liability for the taxable year shall not be considered a mandatory deduction
- Social security contributions
- Retirement and disability contributions except any voluntary retirement and disability contributions
- 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
- Compute the total annual amount of adjusted gross income based on paragraphs (a) through (d), then divide this amount by twelve (12) to obtain the monthly amount of adjusted gross income.
The amount of "adjusted gross income" is calculated through the following factors:
Determine gross income from all potential sources that may reasonably be expected to be available to the absent parent including, but not limited to, the following:
- 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
- any income earned from an interest in or from inherited property
- any other form of earned income
Gross income shall exclude any monetary benefits derived from a second household, such as income of the absent parent's current spouse.
Subtract the following legally mandated deductions: Federal, state and local taxes.
Mississippi Child Support Calculation Formula Methods
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Mississippi family court through a child support order. In Mississippi, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Mississippi Child Support Frequently Asked Questions
Mississippi Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Mississippi?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Mississippi?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Mississippi?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Mississippi?
- How is child support enforced in Mississippi?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Mississippi?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Mississippi?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Mississippi law allows the judge overseeing the child support order to use a shared custody agreement as justification for a variation from the state's general child support calculations. This means that if the non-custodial parent shares parenting time with the custodial parent, the judge might reduce the amount of child support owed to account for the resources spent by the non-custodial parent during their time with the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Mississippi?
Mississippi has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
Mississippi treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "deviation factor", which means that the judge determining the amount of child support to be paid may take ongoing medical care costs into account when calculating the monthly amount to be paid. This means that in situations where the custodial parent needs to pay child care costs, the judge may raise the child support payments in order to help cover them.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Mississippi?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Mississippi has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Mississippi treats child care costs as a "deviation factor", which means that the judge determining the amount of child support to be paid may take child care costs into account when calculating the monthly amount to be paid. This means that in situations where the custodial parent needs to pay child care costs, the judge may raise the child support payments in order to help cover them.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Mississippi?
Mississippi state law does allow courts to order the non-custodial parent to contribute to their child's college education upon graduating high school. Whether post-secondary education support is ordered, and the amount that may be ordered, varies depending on the situation.
How is child support enforced in Mississippi?
In the state of Mississippi, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Mississippi welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Mississippi?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Mississippi tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.