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How Is Child Support Determined?

By Oct 31, 2022 Posted in Child Custody

Child support is the amount a parent pays to the person who is their child’s primary caretaker. Each state calculates child support according to its guidelines. In Iowa, the income share method is used to calculate child support. This is so that both parents are held responsible for the care of their child.  

What Is Considered In Child Support Calculation

Following is a list of some criteria used to determine how child support is paid in Iowa. 

  • Parental Income: Net income of both parents is a factor. Generally speaking, this is the gross amount of income minus the amount paid for state taxes, federal taxes, and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).
  • Number of Children: The number of children that the child support order will support is taken into consideration. If either parent has children from another relationship they support, they may receive a deduction. 
  • Custody Arrangement: The custody arrangement between the parties, especially the number of overnights the non-custodial parent has with the children, will be a factor.
  • Child Care: Iowa recognizes the high cost of child care and gives special treatment for this expense. The amount paid is considered a mandatory deduction. 
  • Prior Orders: Any amounts the parties are paying pursuant to an order for children from another relationship may be considered when calculating child support.  
  • Health Insurance: If either party is paying for health insurance for the children, this amount can be factored into the child support calculation. 

What Is Not Considered In Child Support Calculation

What surprises many people when determining the amount of child support that should be paid is the factors that the courts do not consider. Some of these include:

  • Step-parent Income: A step-parent’s income is not included when calculating child support, even if they voluntarily help to support the children.
  • Car Payments: Car payments are not considered when calculating child support.
  • Housing Costs: The amount the parents spend on rent or mortgage payments is not considered in child support calculations in Iowa.
  • Voluntary Pension Plans: Voluntary amounts paid to pension or retirement plans are not considered in child support calculations. 

Other Considerations

Other considerations regarding Iowa child support include:

  • When the non-custodial parent receives Social Security Income (SSI) as their only source of income, the courts generally will not place them under a child support order. 
  • In cases where a child is disabled, child support payment can last indefinitely. 

Speak With An Iowa Child Support Lawyer At Simpson Legal Group, LLC

If you have questions about the amount of child support you have to pay or the amount of child support you should receive, you need to speak with a child support lawyer at our firm. We understand how important your children are to you, and we can help you calculate the amount your children deserve. Contact our firm today. 


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50 Northcrest Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503
Phone: 712.256.9899

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