Each parent is required under state law to support their minor children. In a divorce or paternity action an order can be obtained during pregnancy and continues until the child turns 18 and is no longer a high school student, emancipates or turns 19 whichever occurs first.

Child support is determined by a software program into which the parties respective incomes and the time share, that is the time each party has the child, are entered into the program. In addition to the parties incomes the court will enter other information with regards to the costs of health insurance, child care expenses (which are equally divided) and mandatory retirement.

Once the appropriate data is entered into the program it will calculate the appropriate level of support payable by one party to the other.

At the beginning of either a paternity action or a divorce action the parties will usually file an Order to Show Cause seeking to establish child custody, visitation and support. This is to insure that during the proceedings that the child is not left without sufficient funds for housing, room and board and other sundries.

It is also important to know that child support can be modified through out the child’s life as the situations warrants due to income fluctuations and/or the child changes residences or other changes that occur.

It is critical to note that you must file a request to obtain a support order. If you do not ask the court for an order there is no retroactivity. The court has no power to make an order unless the case is filed and a request is formally made to the court to have a child support order issued. Thus, it is vital that at the onset of any action or where any significant change of circumstances arises that the child support be set and/or recalculated as the case may be.

As parties begin either a paternity or divorce action they need some knowledge or awareness as to what their obligation for child support could be. The law deems it your duty to pay child support before any other bill that you may have including car, mortgages or other debts.

Thus, when planning for your financial future as a result of a divorce or a break up of a relationship which has resulted in a child you must have a solid idea of how much support you could be required to pay if you find yourself in a position where the other party is the primary care giver to your child. Even in true 50/50 timeshares where there is significant differences in income support can be ordered.

Additionally, it should be noted that child care costs of minor children are to be equally split in addition to child support. By way of example, if your child support is $400.00 and it costs $800.00 to watch your child in daycare, you will be required to pay an additional $400.00, that is ½ of the $800.00 charge for daycare, as and for child support to allow the other party to work, seek employment, go to school or otherwise for a total child support order of $800.00.

Thus, as you proceed to divorce or establish paternity and obtain orders for child support it is important to know, whether you are the payor or the payee, what to expect to pay or receive. That will hopefully allow you and your children to move forward through this difficult time.


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What is it? Order to Show Cause (OSC) 


What is it? Order to Show Cause (OSC) 

The most common method for obtaining orders in a divorce, both before and after Judgment, is by way of an Order to Show Cause. An Order to Show Cause allows the filing party to request specific orders from the court. An Order to Show Cause is typically used at the beginning of the dissolution action to obtain child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support and attorney fees. When same is filed together with a petition for dissolution the court then may make orders with regards to the requested actions as to those issues or any others that may be requested. It is also used to obtain restraining orders to insure community assets are not misused or otherwise taken as well as any and all other necessary orders sought.

The court can not make orders unless the court is specifically requested to do so by way of an Order to Show Cause. Further, the court cannot issue orders other than those requested in the Order to Show Cause so one must be very specific and detailed.

Thus, when the Order to Show Cause is filed at the beginning of the case the court will issue temporary orders pending a final resolution of the matter, that is until a Judgment is entered on the case. This will insure there is support being paid and that orders are made clear with regards to the custody and visitation of the minor children.

Additionally, requests can be made for more orders in the same Order to Show Cause.

Thus, one Order to Show Cause can resolve many issues at the beginning of a case.

The Order to Show Cause can also be used after a Judgment has been entered where you seek to modify child custody, child support, child visitation, and/or spousal support.

When the Order to Show Cause is used after the Judgment has been entered it will allow a modification of the existing orders. Thus, when a situation changes such as one party begins to earn more or less than the other a modification can be sought as to the support issues.

Where there are ongoing issues with regards to custody and visitation that are unresolved the court retains jurisdiction to modify the Judgment with regards to both custody and visitation as well.

Further, the Order to Show Cause can be used to enforce the courts previous orders contained in a Judgment or a prior Order to Show Cause when they are not being followed by the other party. This can include failure to pay support, failure to pay agreed upon distributions of funds or failure to cooperate regarding the children.

The Order to Show Cause is a multi faceted procedure which will allow you to seek relief from the court both at the beginning at your case, during your case or even after same is concluded as is needed. It is the most used procedure to obtain an order from the court. Remember, without the filing of an Order to Show Cause the court cannot make orders.


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Child Support is generally determined by income and timeshare.

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