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INCOME OF A NON-PARTY SPOUSE CAN PLAY A ROLE IN SUPPORT, EVEN THOUGH IT SHOULDN’T

The Mississippi Child Support statute provides statutory percentages to be paid in child support. The statute requires payment of:
 
  • 14% for one child
  • 20% for two
  • 22% for three
  • 24% for four
  • 26% for five or more.

The percentage is taken from adjusted gross income, which is, basically, gross salary after mandatory state and federal withholding. The statute provides that the percentages are a “rebuttable presumption” and that the amount can be increased or decreased based upon enumerated considerations. As a rule, the income of a new spouse is not relevant. Such income is not listed in the statute.

However, in a recent decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed a Chancellor in awarding more than the guideline amount where it was clear the payor’s living expenses were being divided with his new spouse, thus giving him more money to spend. Marin v. Stewart, NO. 2012–CA–00834–COA (9/24/13) We shall see what cans of worms this opens up.