Parenting in the Land of The Midnight Sun: What to Know About Alaska Child Support

Alaska Child support

What to Know About Alaska Child Support?

In 2018, Alaska had one of the highest divorce rates in America. Statistics on how many of those couples had children at the time of their divorce aren’t clear. However, a 2019 study found that Alaska’s most searched phrase relating to divorce was “child custody.”

Going through a divorce is difficult. Coping with emotional stressors while also parsing out legal ownership of property is difficult enough. For many couples, helping their children cope with this major life change while also determining issues of custody and child support is the hardest part of a divorce.

We get many questions about Alaska child support. Each state has its own laws and determinations dictating who is required to pay child support and how much they must pay.

Read on for our guide to Alaska child support so you can navigate this difficult time knowledgeably and focus on what is best for your children.

The Basics of Alaska Child Support

Both state and federal laws state that child support is not optional, nor can it be waived. Ultimately, these laws are in place to ensure that every child of divorce is taken care of to the best of both parents’ abilities.

The first thing you and your former partner will need to decide upon is a parenting plan. While this plan will eventually be codified by law, it should begin with an open and honest reflection of both parents’ desires and availability as well as the child’s needs. While some couples are able to figure this out between the two of them, others may request the help of a mediator.

There are two distinct components to a parenting plan.

The first is the parenting schedule. This includes the days and times that a child will be with each parent. It also includes decisions about who will provide transportation of the child and who will fund that transportation.

The second is the decision making. In other words, parents will need to decide who has the responsibility of making major decisions regarding health, education, and social issues for the child. Some parents decide to make these decisions together while others agree that one parent will have more (or all) of that deciding power.

Once the parents have decided on a parenting plan, the judge in charge of their case will weigh in and make the final decision. The judge will consider a number of factors relating to the child’s best interest. These factors range from the love and affection between the child and each parent to the ability each parent has to meet the child’s needs.

Four Types of Legal Parenting Schedules in Alaska

The court will use one of four terms to describe a legally agreed-upon parenting schedule. The one you and your partner settle on will affect the amount of child support you will pay.

  1. Primary physical custody entails that one parent has the child more than 70% of the year. That means that in one year, one parent will have the child for at least 256 overnights.
  2. Shared physical custody entails that the child is with each parent for at least 30% of the year. That means each parent would have the child for at least 110 overnights.
  3. Divided custody applies when the parents have more than one child together. It is considered divided custody when one parent has primary custody of one child and the other parent has primary custody of another child.
  4. Hybrid custody also applies when the parents have more than one child together. It entails that while one parent may have primary custody of one child, shared custody applies to one or more of their other children.

What if One Parent is Moving Out of State?

In some cases, one parent may want to move to a new state. This will affect the judge’s decision about the legal parenting schedule.

Let’s look at an example. Say you and your partner have raised your child in Alaska for the child’s entire life and one parent wants to leave Alaska. The judge may decide that the parent staying in Alaska will receive primary custody if continuity and stability are deemed important factors in the child’s life.

However, if the moving parent had a credible case for bringing the child with them, the judge would examine the reasons behind their choice to move. They would look for reasons that the move was legitimate. For example, if the parent was moving for the sake of a promotion or to access better childcare for the child, the judge may rule in favor of that parent.

The parent paying child custody would be held to the laws the child is living in. In other words, if the child moved to or remained in Alaska, the parent would abide by Alaska child custody laws regardless of their own place of living.

In the event that you and your former spouse will no longer be living in the same state, prepare your child for the absence of a parent. The more you communicate with them, the easier it will be for them to understand why this change has occurred and adjust to their new circumstances!

How is Child Support Calculated?

When you’re calculating child support, you will always start with this basic formula: Gross Income – Deductions = Adjusted Income 

Further along, we will discuss the various expenses that count as deductions in this case. For now, let’s talk at length about the way your Adjusted Income (or AI) relates to the different Alaska child support payments.

The most straightforward child support calculation is in the case of primary custody. The non-custodial will be expected to pay the following:

  • 1 kid: AI x 20%
  • 2 kids: AI x 27%
  • 3 kids: AI x 33%

If you have more than 3 kids, add an additional 3% for each child.

Because child support calculations are more complicated in the case of shared, divided, or hybrid custody, we will link you to an Alaska child support calculator for each one. These calculations will vary based on the separate incomes of both you and your former spouse. They will also vary based on the length of time you each care for your child or children.

How Much Child Support Do I Owe?

In the state of Alaska, child support payments are to be made once a month. In other words, you will need to divide the percentage of your AI that you owe for child support by 12. This will show you the amount you owe in monthly installments.

Alaska child support laws determine that child support is due until the child is 19 years of age in certain circumstances. If the child is still in high school or is living with their custodial parent and unmarried at age 18, child support is still due until their 19th birthday.

We know that there are some months where bills and other expenses pile up. As much as parents want to make every child support payment on time, it doesn’t always happen. Note that in Alaska, you can be charged up to 6% interest on late child support payments.

What is Deductible from My Gross Annual Income?

Calculating your AI can be a bit confusing. Let’s talk a bit about what counts as your Gross Annual Income and what expenses or payments you can deduct from that.

Your Gross Annual Income includes wages and disability pay. It also includes SSDI, unemployment, and work benefits such as meals or housing. Finally, it includes any non-taxable benefits you may receive from the military or similar organization.

Now let’s talk a bit about what you can deduct from your Gross Annual Income. Because this can get a bit confusing, it can be helpful to work with a lawyer or mediator to figure out not only what your deductibles are but how much of your Gross Annual Income they account for.

The list of deductible income includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Federal taxes that are owed
  • State unemployment insurance
  • Medicare and Social Security
  • Mandatory and voluntary retirement contributions
  • Childcare paid for the child or children in question that you cover so that you can work
  • Child support you owe for a child from a previous relationship

Note that this list does not include all deductibles but rather the most commonly cited deductibles.

If you are paying child support for a child living in Alaska but you live in another state, record the taxes you pay. This includes state and local taxes and these are also deductible.

Focus On Your Child’s Needs

Getting through a divorce and figuring out Alaska child support laws can be difficult. Remember, as you go through this process, that things will reach a new normal soon and that this stress is only temporary. In the meantime, focus as much of your attention as you can on your child’s needs.

Important things to consider for illinois child support calculation

Illinois child custody

After divorce or separation of parents, children are the one who suffers the most. The separated parents have a huge responsibility on their shoulders to provide necessary child support to their children so that they can continue to live a happy and joyous life even after such tragedies. Hence, there are certain rules involved when calculating a parent’s financial responsibility to support their children in the future. Physical and mental health conditions of the child are one of the many factors that a court considers when allocating the payments of child support. The well-being of the child will be always of utmost importance in the court’s eyes. Apart from this, for child support, parents can also enter into a legal agreement, and once it is approved by the court, the parents can implement it accordingly.

Why Child Support is Important?

Before discussing the complex calculations involved in the child support program, it is quite important for both parents to understand why child support is important for their children. Child support basically refers to paying a particular amount of money by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent with an objective to support children financially. When parents separate, children require the dire need of support both emotionally and financially. Hence, protecting children both emotionally and financially is the utmost responsibility of parents, even if they don’t spend their lives together under one roof. When parents do not get involved in supporting their child, these poor lads may not get an opportunity they deserve and require in order to grow with the maximum potential.

Raising children is no doubt a critical task, whether the parents are separated or living under one roof. But, specifically after divorce, the financial and emotional needs of children significantly increase. For this purpose, taking a particular amount from the income for child support becomes quite important. Commonly, when a court decides upon child support they monitor whether the parents are capable to support their children or not.

There are many important goals that these child support practices serve. Firstly, it minimizes financial insecurity and poverty that their child might face in the future. Secondly, due to child support both non-custodial parents and their children get a chance to strengthen their relationship and spend more time with each other. On the other hand, if a parent is not able to pay or refuse to pay for the child support, then he or she might have to face legal consequences.

When a non-custodial parent is unable to pay for the child support, the custodial parent can accuse the non-custodial parent of violation of the child support agreement. As a result, the non-custodial parent might have to face legal problems that can lead him or her to jail as well. For this purpose, it is quite important for every parent to perform timely payments for child support so that they can avoid such legal consequences.

Significance of the Illinois Child Support Calculator

Among other questions, a number of parents ask one important question about how is child support calculated in Illinois courts? To calculate child support, the court usually investigates;

  • The income of both parents.
  • The requirements of the children
  • The needs and incomes of the custodial parent
  • The capability of each parent to pay for his or her child.
  • The standard of living of the child after separation of parents.

In order to ease the problem associated with child support, there are certain guidelines provided by the local government that could assist parents in evaluating how much amount they are required to pay for child support. The Illinois child support percentage gradually increases with the increase in the number of children. Here’s how;

  • For 1 child, parents have to pay 20 percent of their income.
  • For 2 children, parents have to pay 28 percent of their income.
  • For 3 children, parents have to pay 32 percent of their income.
  • For 4 children, parents have to pay 40 percent of their income.
  • For 5 children, parents have to pay 45 percent of their income.
  • For 6 or more children, parents have to pay 50 percent of their income.

So if next time someone asks, how much is child support in Illinois, show them these percentage guidelines. These percentage guidelines were designed solely on the basis of traditional arrangements of the child custody, in which non-custodians are required to visit their child on a regular basis (every weekend). However, in the case of shared or joint custody of children, or if the time of visitation increases from the traditional visitation time then these percentage guidelines will not remain the same. It is more likely that the court may incorporate further expenses in these guidelines in terms of health care, school tuition fee, and extracurricular activities. In other cases, if the income of a parent is quite high, then the amount of guideline will increase accordingly. On the other hand, if a parent is associated with low monthly income than he or she will have to pay lesser than the amount guideline.

Estimating the Net Income with Illinois Child Support Calculator

The Illinois child support calculator is a beneficial tool that can assist parents in calculating the expenses involved in the child support program.  The formula for calculation is quite simple. The parent will just have to add the amount of net income (including both earned and unearned) and subtract it from the adjustment or deductions provided in the child support guidelines. Here are some common forms of income that parents are required to show while disbursing child support;

  • Income received from the investment.
  • Income received from self-employment work.
  • Income received from commissions.
  • Income received from monthly, weekly or yearly wages.

On the other hand, here are some common deductions that are subtracted while calculating child support;

  • State and federal income taxes
  • Premiums for health insurance (for both dependents and old custodians).
  • Expenses required to generate income.
  • Medical-related expenses
  • Any amount which is already been paid for the welfare of the custodial parents or children.

Although calculating the right amount of child support can be quite difficult, still this calculator can provide an estimate to some extent about how much amount is needed to be paid by the parents after separation.

The responsibilities of child support also rest with such parents that receive no or less income. The court will examine the reason for the low income of non-custodial parents. If a parent is working voluntarily for a lesser amount of time and has the capability to work more, then such individuals will be liable to pay for child support. On the other hand, if a parent is highly qualified but still working for a low salary job, then these individuals too will be liable to pay for child support. Unless they present some strong pieces of evidence regarding their efforts for hunting good jobs or any other reason such as disability issues or getting affected by chronic health problems. In such scenarios, the court will then ask the parent to provide only potential or imputed income as child support. This potential income will be entirely based on the most current job in which a parent is involved in or will be based on such job opportunities for which the parent can easily qualify considering their experience and training. Lastly, if no evidence is found by the court then it will set the minimum wage as an imputed income for the child support.

Modifying or Terminating Child Support In Future

Situations might occur when a child may need extra care or support, due to any unforeseen circumstances. In such cases, the non-custodial parents can ask for Illinois child support modifications in order to enhance the financial assistance for their children, so that they can meet all the necessary requirements in their lives. On the other hand, if the non-custodial parents think that their child has now become capable to earn on its own, then in this case as well they can request modifications in the child support accordingly.

However, in case of any modification required, the parents will have to provide concrete evidence to support it. In accordance with the Illinois child support regulations, the obligation on parents to support their children terminates after 18 years of age. But, this obligation will be modified if the child is still going to high school for learning. In such scenarios, the non-custodial parents will be obliged to pay for their child support until the child gets graduated or turns 19. Moreover, if the child lacks self-support capability or has some kind of disability, then these obligations may further delay in the future. In certain cases, the Illinois courts also come forward to support parent for making payments after the child turns 19.

Illinois Child Support Payments

Generally, the payments for child support are taken from the paycheck of the non-custodial parents. The payment process begins when a child support notice is sent to the employer of the non-custodial parents. Once the notice is received, the employer will become liable to disburse the child support payments from the parent’s paycheck and send it to the Illinois child support disbursement unit.  On the other hand, parents are also liable to check the disbursed amount, in order to ensure that the right amount of payment is being sent for the child support through the employer.  If the employer fails to disburse the child support payments from the parent’s paycheck then the non-custodial parents can send the payment by themselves. However, if the employers fail to pay for the child support, they may have to pay a $100 fine per day.

In Illinois, the payment for child support is generally done through the Illinois child support disbursement unit. This unit is responsible for processing the payments for child support obtained from parents or employers, and then disbursing them to the new custodians via debit card, direct deposit, or check. One important advantage of the Illinois child support disbursement unit is it keeps a thorough record for every payment made through it. This can eventually help both the custodial and the non-custodial parent to avoid any arguments on child support in the future.

Illinois Child Support Laws 2020

In comparison with the modification of Illinois Child Support Laws in 2017, in 2020 there are no significant changes made. In 2020, the obligation on the non-custodial parent to stay with their child is increased up to 50 percent. Hence, the higher the time parent will spend with their child lesser will they have to pay for the child support. On the other hand, as far as the 146 overnight visit requirements per year are met by the non-custodial parents, the time required to be spent by each parent will not be considered in the Illinois child support calculator 2020.

 One of the major changes in child support law took place in 2017 when a new model for the sharing of income was adopted in the Illinois child support program. The whole idea behind this model was to hold the non-custodial parents more responsible for providing support to their children in the same way as if they were intact in the family. There are certain factors on the basis of which the contribution of the non-custodial parent towards child support can be calculated in accordance with this model. A parent’s basic support is evaluated based on their shared total income and the amount of time the kid spends with non-custodial parents every year.

To further illustrate this factor, consider a couple who spends roughly $30,000 every year for the expenses of their child, and they agree upon giving 50/50 time to their child. So, after reviewing the financial positions of both the parents, the court finds out that the mother is contributing 40 percent, while the father is contributing 60 percent in the total income. In that scenario, the father will be liable to pay $18,000 (60% of his income), while the mother will have to pay $12,000 (40% of her income) in the child support.

Hence, by providing appropriate child support, parents can help bring the lost colors in their children’s lives. As children already go through many stressors after their parents get separated. Therefore, child support is their basic right, and parents should ensure to provide it, in order to shape a better future for them.

 References

 https://www.oflaherty-law.com/learn-about-law/illinois-child-support-2020-recent-changes-to-illinois-support-law

https://www.wahpetondailynews.com/news/child-support-what-is-it-who-pays-why-it-s/article_80c73f6c-d48f-11e7-a477-d78d8d716b0e.html

https://www.wahpetondailynews.com/news/child-support-what-is-it-who-pays-why-it-s/article_80c73f6c-d48f-11e7-a477-d78d8d716b0e.html

https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/child-support/child-support-basics/child-support-illinois.html

https://www.mckinleyirvin.com/family-law-blog/2019/april/child-support-for-children-with-special-needs/

Unpaid Child Support: What You Can Do

2houses : web & mobile app for divorce with kids - unpaid child support

There are some coparenting situations where child support is a non-issue. If the parents have a true 50/50 custody time split and make roughly the same income, the courts may decide that there’s no need for a child support order. Similarily, some people choose to forego financial support as part of their divorce agreement. However, if you do count on child support as part of your monthly income, not receiving payments can create a real financial hardship.

Unless there’s a specific short-term issue that’s keeping your ex from making payments, you’ll likely need to get the professionals involve in collecting back support. Here’s what you need to know.

Get an Official Child Support Order

While this may seem obvious, it’s not unusual for coparents to have an informal child support arrangement. This is most common in situations where the divorce is in process, the parents were never married, or the divorce/dissolution was very amicable. While this situation works for some, it’s always best to have an official court order to fall back on, and if you’re dealing with unpaid child support, it’s a must before you can take any action for back payments.

Ensure the Child Support Order Is Accurate and Up to Date

Child support is handled on a state by state basis, and each state has its own guidelines for what factors go into the calculations and how child support is determined. In most cases, it will be dependent on the income (and possibly earning potential) or both parents and any other outstanding factors. These could be child care costs or something like above-average medical expenses for a child with a chronic condition. However, these factors may change as the child gets older or the parents get new jobs. If you or your coparent has experienced a significant change in financial circumstances, it’s important to have your child support order updated before seeking back payments — especially if the unpaid child support is due to a financial hardship.

Contact Your Local Child Support Enforcement Agency

The Child Support Enforcement Agency is responsible for ensuring that child support orders are executed. It should be your first contact if you stop receiving your payments. The case worker can let you know how long you have to go without a payment before enforcement action is taken (this is usually 1-3 months) and what the next steps are. Keep in mind, however, that the case worker will likely not be able to tell you why you’re not receiving payments or give you any personal information about your ex’s job or financial situation.

Keep Up Open and Positive Communication

It’s frustrating when you’re counting on money, and it doesn’t come in. But it’s important to keep the child support and the visitation and custody matters separate. If your ex stops paying support, that doesn’t mean you can withhold visitation or try other punitive measures to get them to pay. And really, this can just backfire even more and turn what was a peaceful coparenting arrangement into a war zone. Using the expense tracking and messaging tools on 2houses gives you an easy way to keep communication factual, professional and focused on the children.

Whether your ex just missed their first payment or you’re owed thousands in unpaid child support, it’s important to continue to abide by the current court order and go through the proper legal channels to seek back payments.

 

Co-Parenting: Managing School-Related Expenses

co-parenting - 2houses

School supplies in every store and cooler weather — depending on where you live — are sure signs of school starting, and it’s not long before the school buses are back on their routes and your child is back in school. While it’s a fun time of year full of new beginnings and new adventures, it can also be the most expensive for parents. Co-parenting about finances successfully takes grace, compassion, and respect, but it is possible to manage all of the school-related expenses with your ex peacefully.

Dividing School and Extracurricular Expenses

The very first part of managing school expenses is deciding what qualifies for that category. In some cases, your divorce decree and co-parenting agreement may do this for you. Sometimes these will list certain expenses — such as sports fees, school picture costs, and private school tuition — and the percentage that each parent is expected to pay. If this is the case, you’re in luck. Keeping things organized is as simple as informing the other parent about any shared expenses your incur and making your own payments promptly. Remember to keep receipts for any expenses you paid for so you can show proof of payment just in case any issues do occur later on.

However, for other parents, there’s no guidance in the court order and they’re left to their own agreements. In these cases, you may want to sit down with your co-parent and try to come to an agreement on who will pay what — which will be different for every situation. It may help to make a list of all anticipated expenses beforehand — bonus points if you can show what all had to be paid last school year — so that everyone is on the same page as far as expectations. Some parents might just split all expenses down the middle, while others may need to resort to a percentage system that takes into account disparity between incomes.
Whatever you decide, remember to put it in writing, so there’s no confusion later on. You might even want to consider having your agreement added to the court order, but keep in mind, that you may still need to revisit and amend things as your children get older and expenses and needs change.

Organizing Finances While Co-Parenting

Staying organized when you’re sharing expenses can be a challenge, but 2houses makes it easier. The in-app financial management system lets you keep track of your expenses and categorize each one so it’s always clear what money was spent for which expense. You can also send the other parent an invitation to reimburse you for their portion of the expense. Just use the mobile app to take a picture of the receipt and add it right then to the expense.

Use the wish list feature to let them know if there’s anything extra coming up your child needs, such as new shoes for cross-country or a class ring. At any time, you can export the expenses into a CSV or PDF file for easy accounting and documentation. Keeping everything in one place makes it easier for both parents to access the information at any point without having to call or message the other parent or try to get information through the child.
Whether you’re tracking large amounts like tuition payments or just need a way to know if you already paid your half, 2houses is designed to make it easier for co-parenting families to manage the financial side of the school year.

Get your wallet ready for the divorce

divorce - 2houses

If you believe divorce is in the foreseeable future, it’s a smart move to starting planning your finances and budget before divorce proceedings begin.  Transitioning to a life after divorce will be much easier and with less of an upheaval when you are financially prepared.  Meet with your planners, use online resources and create a divorce team so you can expertly navigate the details of a divorce.  This post will discuss some suggestions to help get you started and ensure a smoother journey on this difficult path.

Meet with a Financial Advisor and Estate Planner

Make a plan to meet with a financial advisor to review bank accounts, life insurance policies, retirement funds and other important financial papers. If these accounts are in your name, your advisor will ensure the right beneficiaries are listed and the funds invested in are appropriate for your situation. An Estate Planner can help you draw up a new Will, advise on obtaining new insurance quotes and advise on your tax situation. Deductibles and other taxation issues will arise, especially if children are involved.

Open your own financial accounts

If you don’t already have your own personal bank accounts or credit cards, open them now and start using them. It can be difficult to obtain credit after your divorce, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom or have put your career on hold. While still married, you can use your shared household income when applying for credit.

Review your credit report

Obtain your credit report and review it for anything that may have tarnished your credit history. If mistakes are present in the report, take steps to correct them now. Pay down any debts you have to improve your credit rating.

Become familiar with online resources

You can find online tools and mobile apps to manage expenses for both households after the divorce. These are great tools to capture expenses and income to keep the accounts balanced and are especially important when children are involved. If your divorce settlement will include monthly support payments, a feature in this online resource will send out friendly reminders that payment has not yet been received which can help to avoid conflicts in your post-divorce relationship with your spouse.

Conclusion

With a looming divorce you will experience many emotions from sadness to worry to peace of mind. Having familiarity with your current finances, especially if your spouse handled the money will bring you confidence and security about your future. Keep your team and resources close at hand so you too can look forward to a single, joyous and independent life.

Say Hi To Oscar: The New Kid That May Change Health Insurance

oscar the app for health insurance - 2houses

In five weeks from now, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates the opening of health insurance exchanges around the country. At that time New Yorkers will be introduced to an innovative way of thinking about health care: Oscar. Three friends, and technology entrepreneurs, teamed up to do something that has been inconceivable to date—create a start-up health insurance company to take on conventional health insurers on the NY exchange. Oscar co-founders, Josh Kushner, Kevin Nazemi and Mario Schlosser, plan to change the health insurance industry through technological interfaces, telemedicine and real transparency. Their goal is to redesign insurance to be geared toward the user experience, to make patients seek out their insurer before their doctor.

Americans do not usually think of health insurance as an intimate part of the care process. When sick, individuals do not call their insurance company for care or support. The health insurance industry is considered confusing, at best. The ACA however, presents an opportunity for the reformation of health insurance as we know it, not because of its disappearance, but by making it an integral part of receiving quality care. According to one co-founder, “We want consumers to feel like they have a doctor in the family.” That family doctor he speaks of is Oscar.

Oscar will have one plan in each of the ACAs metal-tiered categories, and additional plan options for the Bronze and Silver tiers. Although Oscar will have some of the familiar pillars of the health care industry like co-pays and deductibles for in-person visits, it introduces new elements like free telemedicine, free generic drugs and online price comparisons. Oscar health insurance will pioneer “a consumer experience, not a processor of claims,” explained Nazemi, with the goal of simply guiding individuals through the complex health system in an integrative and safe way.

Read more… by Nicole Fisher and Scott Liebman