Effective July 1, 2019, House Bill 19-1215 (signed May 23, 2019) implemented changes to the child support guidelines. Previously, if you were a stay at home parent providing primary care for a child less than thirty (30) months of age, you were not required to be employed. And, if you were not employed, the Court could not impute wages to you for purposes of calculating child support. This provision has changed. Now, if you are the primary caregiver for a child more than twenty-four (24) months of age, you will have wages imputed to if you are unemployed or under-employed and if you are not otherwise enrolled in an educational program likely to result in a degree or certification within a reasonable period of time. Additionally, if income is imputed income, the Court must now consider several additional factors, to include:
A. The parent’s assets;
C. Employment and earnings history;
D. Job skills;
E. Educational attainment;
I. Criminal record;
J. Other employment barriers;
K. Record of seeking work;
L. The local job market;
M. The availability of employers hiring in the community without changing the existing law regarding the burden of proof;
N. Prevailing earnings level in the local community; and
O. Other relevant background factors in the case.
In addition, the Court may not consider mandatory school fees (exclusive of post-secondary fees and credit for non-joint children in the home of a parent). Also, there have been adjustments to low-income wage earners and adjustments for extraordinary circumstances. Finally, there are several possible future child support commission issues of importance. For example, there may be a reduction of the statutory interest rate for child support arrears. Currently, the statute provides 12% interest for unpaid child support. However, that may reduce to 8%. Additionally, there will likely be changes implemented to update the Uniform Parentage Act to update for issues related to same-sex couples and children born through assisted reproduction. Bottom line, if these changes may impact you it is important to seek advice from an experienced family law attorney to determine if any of the changes may impact you moving forward.
Would you like to know more? Contact Denise M. Minish at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-808-0012.