Child Support Basics in Mississippi
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When parents wish to end a marriage, they must resolve specific issues related to their children. They must not only determine child custody but child support as well. These two issues are often intertwined, as the parent who does not have primary or sole custody of the child will likely be required to pay support to the custodial parent. Even when parents have joint custody, child support may be awarded. The goal is to create a situation where the child will have the food, shelter, medical care, and education they need.
As always, the best interests of the child are of paramount importance in family law matters, but court-awarded child support is calculated based off a set formula. Whether you may be entitled to receive or required to pay child support, it is important to have a lawyer on your side to protect your interests. As a family law attorney, Mark Chinn can work to make sure that your financial situation and child’s needs are properly presented in relation to child support. This can make all the difference in your future financial stability and your child’s well-being.
If you would like to learn more about child support in Mississippi, feel free to call our offices at (601) 202-5594, or continue reading for helpful information.
Calculating Child Support in Mississippi
In Mississippi, the following guidelines are in place regarding child support (the specific amount of support awarded may vary depending on the circumstances of the case):
- Child support is calculated based on adjusted gross income, in the following percentages:
- 14% for 1 child;
- 20% for 2 children;
- 22% for 3 children;
- 24% for 4 children; and
- 26% for 5 or more children.
- Adjusted gross income is calculated by taking all eligible income and subtracting taxes, other child support, and Social Security contributions.
One of the advantages of Mississippi’s child support guidelines is that support is paid until the child turns 21. In many states, support is only paid until a child turns 18. A child support agreement can also take college into account, as well as room and board while the child is at school.
How Child Support Is Enforced in Mississippi
The Mississippi Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) is responsible for enforcing child support orders in Mississippi. When an individual misses child support payments (know as "child support delinquency"), the DCSE can take the following measures against the delinquent payor:
- Withholding income from the delinquent payor's paycheck. When a court issues a child support order, the parents must provide certain information, including their employer and income source, to the court. The DCSE can use that information to garnish wages from a delinquent parent's paycheck.
- Intercepting tax returns from IRS or State tax refunds. Importantly, the DCSE can also seize stimulus checks issued by the government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Garnishing unemployment benefits. If the delinquent parent utilizes unemployment benefits, the DCSE can garnish that income source for child support. It's also important to note that a court can request a delinquent payor to find employment to repay any missed child support.
- Credit reporting. The DCSE can also report the delinquent parent to various credit bureaus, hurting their credit score.
- Passport revocation. The delinquent parent may have their passport revoked.
- License suspension. The DCSE can suspend licenses the delinquent payor possesses, such as their driver's license, professional license, or any other state-issued license they have.
- Issuing a court order. In situations where the delinquent payor attempts to avoid the DCSE's efforts to recoup child support payments or refuses to comply with DCSE officials, the delinquent payor can be taken to court for non-compliance. Under certain circumstances, the delinquent parent can be incarcerated.
If you fall behind on child support payments, you should contact the Mississippi DCSE as soon as you can. The DCSE may be able to help you establish a repayment program that can help you catch up on missed support and fulfill your child support obligations more easily.
At Chinn & Associates, PC, our attorneys have the experience necessary to help child support payors and recipients address situations where one party falls behind on their child support obligations.
Careful planning and experienced legal representation are crucial when it comes to child support awards, modification, and enforcement. Attorney Mark Chinn and the rest of our staff here at Chinn & Associates are here to help you with this and all other divorce and family law matters.
Contact our Jackson, Mississippi firm today at (601) 202-5594. We’re here 24/7 to take your call.
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