Establishing Child Support in Mississippi
When a child is born to unmarried parents, or his parents separate and divorce, child support obligations need to be established. Child support should be set up as soon as possible after separation for the wellbeing of the child. Fortunately, the child support system in Mississippi is designed to provide a streamlined and straightforward way for parents to provide for their children.
If a couple is married at the time of their child’s birth, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. However, if a man is not married to his child’s mother at the time of birth, paternity will need to be established before child support can be ordered. A paternity action can be brought by the mother, any man that believes he could be the father, or the state. The judge will order a simple and accurate DNA test which can confirm paternity. Once paternity has been established, an order to pay child support will be entered.
How Child Support Is Decided in Mississippi
Child support obligations in Mississippi are established by state law. The guidelines for child support obligation is based on the non-custodial parent’s adjusted gross income and the number of children for which he is providing support. The percentage of adjusted gross income that will be owed in child support is as follows:
- One child 14%
- Two children 20%
- Three children 22%
- Four children 24%
- Five or more children 26%
Adjusted gross income is calculated by taking an individual’s total gross income and subtracting any mandatory deductions, such as taxes and other domestic support payments. Determining an accurate adjusted gross income is important in a child support action. All consistent and reliable income should be included, even bonuses and commissions.
Although the Mississippi child support guidelines are relatively straightforward, the courts recognize this obligation will not work for every family. A judge may alter the child support obligation to reflect additional expenses (like health insurance premiums or daycare tuition), joint custody situations, special needs of the child, and other circumstances.
Child Support Modification
Your child support order will be in place until the child reaches the age of 21 or one parent petitions to modify it. You may be able to have your child support reduced or terminated when the child turns 18, if the child is not disabled and:
- no longer enrolled in school;
- gets married; or
- moves out of the custodial parent’s home.
You can also have child support payments increased (or reduced) based on a change in your financial situation. If the non-custodial parent’s income changes significantly (by at least 25%), either parent can request a modification.
Get Help Today. Call a Jackson Mississippi Child Support Lawyer
If you need to establish child support, or request a modification to your child support order, contact an experienced child support attorney today. Derek L. Hall PLLC, The Heavy Hitter is a full-service family law firm that can assist you with your divorce, child custody, child support, and other family law matters. Contact our office in Jackson, Mississippi to schedule a free initial consultation.