Amount of Child Support in Mississippi

By James Sokolowski

Parents who are getting divorced in Mississippi must estimate how much child support they will pay or receive during the divorce process and also plan for their financial future once the divorce is final. Mississippi’s formula for calculating child support is relatively easy to understand, and online calculators allow you to enter your figures into the formula. But the final amount of support relies heavily on the judge, who has the discretion to vary the statutory support formula to address your family’s specific situation.

Parents who are getting divorced in Mississippi must estimate how much child support they will pay or receive during the divorce process and also plan for their financial future once the divorce is final. Mississippi’s formula for calculating child support is relatively easy to understand, and online calculators allow you to enter your figures into the formula. But the final amount of support relies heavily on the judge, who has the discretion to vary the statutory support formula to address your family’s specific situation.

Overview

A divorce court typically names one parent as the custodial parent who has primary responsibility for raising the child. The other parent usually must pay child support to the custodial parent until the child turns 21, the age of emancipation in Mississippi. While every state has a formula to calculate child support, Mississippi is rare in that it considers only the noncustodial parent’s income and not the custodial parent’s earnings. The court first calculates the noncustodial parent’s gross income. It then makes certain deductions to the gross income to arrive at the adjusted gross income and uses that figure to determine the proper amount of support.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Calculating Income

To determine the noncustodial spouse’s gross income, the formula considers wages, salary, interest, dividends, alimony that the noncustodial spouse receives and benefits from retirement, disability, workers’ compensation and unemployment. If the judge determines that the noncustodial spouse is deliberately unemployed or underemployed to avoid paying child support, she can impute income to him by determining how much money the noncustodial parent could be earning and using that amount to compute child support.

Adjustments to Income

Once the noncustodial parent’s gross income is determined, the formula subtracts certain deductions required by Mississippi law, such as federal, state and local taxes, Social Security contributions and support of other children. After subtracting all allowable deductions from the noncustodial parent’s gross income, what’s left is the adjusted gross income, or AGI.

Applying the Formula

Mississippi's child support guidelines call for a parent with one child to pay 14 percent of his AGI in child support; 20 percent for two children; 22 percent for three children; 24 percent for four children; and 26 percent for five or more children. For a noncustodial parent whose annual AGI is $5,000 to $50,000, the law requires the judge to follow the guidelines unless the result would be unjust or inappropriate. For a noncustodial parent with an AGI less than $5,000 or more than $50,000, the judge has more freedom to decide whether to follow the guidelines. The court can also order the noncustodial parent to pay for other types of support, such as providing the child with health insurance or obtaining life insurance with the child as beneficiary.

Deviating From the Formula

Mississippi law provides a list of reasons for the court to deviate from the support formula. For example, the formula was designed for the traditional alternate-weekend visitation schedule. In a case of shared parenting – where the noncustodial parent spends more time and money caring for the child – the judge may reduce the amount of child support. On the other hand, the judge can increase child support if the noncustodial parent refuses to help raise the child. The judge can also deviate from the formula by considering factors such as the child’s extraordinary medical or educational expenses; alimony paid to the custodial parent; and the total assets of the parents and child.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Percent of Income Does CT Take Out in Child Support for the Noncustodial Parent?

References

Resources

Related articles

Child Support Guidelines in Florida

Child support guidelines help ensure that the child support payments Florida judges order in divorce cases are fair and consistent. The guidelines take the mother's income, father's income and needs of the child into consideration. Judges are not required to follow the guidelines to the dollar; they have discretion to make adjustments to child support orders as needed.

New Jersey Child Support Questions

In New Jersey, as in other states, when a child lives with a parent after divorce that parent does not bear the financial burden of supporting the child alone. Instead, state law requires that the other, non-custodial, parent pay a fair share of the child's expenses. This is known as child support -- and it is calculated according to a specific formula.

Does the Number of Children Affect Child Support?

Child support is intended to provide for your children's basic needs – shelter, food and clothing – when you and your spouse divorce. Almost all states use one of two models, or formulas, to arrive at child support obligations. Your obligation typically increases with the number of children you have.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Alabama Laws on Child Support & the Restart of Child Support

Child support in Alabama is usually determined in a straightforward manner. As in many other states, Alabama uses the ...

Wyoming Child Support Laws

When spouses divorce in Wyoming, they remain responsible for providing financial support for their children. To clarify ...

Florida Child Support Regulations

Each state has different rules when it comes to child support, but Florida allocates the support amount between ...

Wisconsin Child Support Laws for Multiple Children

Parents have the legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children, regardless of whether they live ...

Browse by category