Idaho Child Support Guidelines

Adopted January 27, 1989, effective April 1, 1989; amended June 23, 1989, effective July 1, 1989; amended June 7, 1990, effective July 1, 1990; amended May 1, 1992, effective July 1, 1992; amended March 30, 1994, effective July 1, 1994; amended April 19, 1995, effective July 1, 1995; amended April 3, 1996, effective July 1, 1996; amended February 26, 1997, effective July 1, 1997; amended March 18, 1998, effective July 1, 1998.

Section 1. Introduction. The Child Support Guidelines are intended to give specific guidance for evaluating evidence in child support proceedings. Acknowledging there are diverse needs and resources in individual cases, the following Guidelines will produce a more equitable and uniform approach in establishing child support obligations. The Guidelines may be referred to as the Idaho Child Support Guidelines (I.C.S.G.).

Section 2. Application. The Guidelines apply to determinations of child support obligations in all judicial proceedings that address the issue of child support for children under the age of eighteen years or children pursuing high school education up to the age of nineteen years. Support for post-secondary education after age eighteen is beyond these Guidelines.

Section 3. Function of Guidelines. The Guidelines are premised upon the following general assumptions: (a) the costs of rearing a child are reasonably related to family income, and the proportion of family income allocated to child support remains relatively constant in relation to total household expenditures at all income levels; (b) in relation to gross income, there is a gradual decline in that proportion as income increases; (c) the Guidelines amount is the appropriate average amount of support during the minority of the child at a given parental income, so that age-specific expenses do not alter the Guidelines amount. These assumptions may not be accurate in all cases. The amount resulting from the application of the Guidelines is the amount of child support to be awarded unless evidence establishes that amount to be inappropriate. In such case the court shall set forth on the record the dollar amount of support that the Guidelines would require and set forth the circumstances justifying departure from the Guidelines; and (d) child support received and the custodial parent's share of support are spent on the child(ren).

Section 4. Basic Guideline Principles. These Child Support Guidelines are premised upon the following basic principles to guide parents, lawyers, and courts in arriving at child support obligations:
(a) Both parents share legal responsibility for supporting their child. That legal responsibility should be divided in proportion to their Guidelines Income, whether they be separated, divorced, remarried, or never married.
(b) In any proceeding where child support is under consideration, child support shall be given priority over the needs of the parents or creditors in allocating family resources. Only after careful scrutiny should the court delay implementation of the Guidelines amount because of debt assumption.
(c) Support shall be determined without regard to the gender of the custodial parent.
(d) Rarely should the child support obligation be set at zero. If the monthly income of the paying parent is below $800.00, the Court should carefully review the incomes and living expenses to determine the maximum amount of support that can reasonably be ordered without denying a parent the means for self-support at a minimum subsistence level. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a minimum amount of support is at least $50.00 per month per child.

Section 5. Modifications. The amount of child support provided for under these Guidelines may constitute a substantial and material change of circumstances for granting a motion for modification for child support obligations. A support order may also be modified to provide for health insurance not provided in the support order.

Section 6. Guidelines Income Determination--Income Defined. For purposes of these Guidelines, Guidelines Income shall include: (a) the gross income of the parents and (b) if applicable, fringe benefits and/or potential income; less adjustments as set forth in Section 7.
(a) Gross Income Defined. (1) Gross income. Gross income includes income from any source, and includes, but is not limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, social security benefits, workers' compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, alimony, maintenance, any veteran's benefits received, education grants, scholarships, other financial aid and disability and retirement payments to or on behalf of a child calculated per Section 11. The court may consider when and for what duration the receipt of funds from gifts, prizes, net proceeds from property sales, severance pay, and judgments will be considered as available for child support. Benefits received from public assistance programs for the parent shall be included except in cases of extraordinary hardship. Child support received is assumed to be spent on the child and is not income to the parent.
(2) Rents and business income. For rents, royalties, or income derived from a trade or business (whether carried on as a sole proprietorship, partnership or closely held corporation), gross income is defined as gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to carry on the trade or business or to earn rents and royalties. Excluded from ordinary and necessary expenses under these Guidelines are expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support. In general, income and expenses from self-employment or operation of a business should be carefully reviewed to determine the level of gross income of the parent to satisfy a child support obligation. This amount may differ from a determination of business income for tax purposes. Additionally, specifically permitted are the following deductions, unless, in the sole discretion of the Court, permitting any or all of such deductions would result in an unequitable or inappropriate amount of child support in view of all the circumstances:
(A) Straight line depreciation for the life of the asset.
(B) One-half of the self-employment social security tax paid on the trade or business income.
(3) Income of parents and spouse. Gross income ordinarily shall not include a parent's community property interest in the financial resources or obligations of a spouse who is not a parent of the child, unless compelling reasons exist. This subsection limits the application of Yost v. Yost, 112 Idaho 677, 735 P.2d 988 (1987).
(4) Contributions to living expenses. Where a parent derives a benefit through contribution to living expenses of the parent or children, e.g., from parents, spouse or others, or by sharing expenses, the court shall not consider the benefit to the parent as an available resource, unless compelling reasons exist.
(b) Fringe Benefits Defined. Fringe benefits received by a parent in the course of employment, or operation of a trade or business shall be counted as income if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses. Such fringe benefits might include a company car, free housing, or room and board.
(c) Potential Income. (1) Potential earned income. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support shall be based on gross potential income, except that potential income should not be included for a parent that is physically or mentally incapacitated. A parent shall not be deemed underemployed if gainfully employed on a full-time basis at the same or similar occupation in which he/she was employed for more than six months before the filing of the action or separation of the parties, whichever occurs first. Ordinarily, a parent shall not be deemed underemployed if the parent is caring for a child not more than 6 months of age. Determination of potential income shall be made according to any or all of the following methods, as appropriate:
(A) Determine employment potential and probable earnings level based on the parent's work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in the community.
(B) Where a parent is a student, potential monthly income during the school term may be determined by considering student loans from any source.
(2) Potential unearned income. If a parent has assets that do not curently produce income, or that have been voluntarily transferred or placed in a condition or situation to reduce earnings, the court may attribute reasonable monetary value of income to the assets so that an adequate award of child support may be made.

Section 7. Adjustments to Gross Income.
Alimony, Maintenance, and Other Child Support Obligations. (1) Other court orders. A deduction shall be allowed from Gross Income for payment being made pursuant to any other court order for child support from another relationship or spousal maintenance in the amount of the payments currently being made.
(2) Support paid without court order. A deduction shall be allowed from Gross Income for payments without court order currently being made (or an average thereof, if amounts vary) for the support of a child from another relationship where that parent has established a regular pattern of payment.
(3) Support of other children living in home. Because the custodial parent's share of support is presumed to be spent directly on the child, a deduction shall be allowed from Gross Income when a natural or adopted child of another relationship resides in the home of either parent. The deduction shall be the Guideline support amount calculated for that child, using only that parent's income.
Example. Bob and Alice are divorcing. They have two children. Bob has a child from another relationship living with him for whom he receives $240 per month support. The two children will live with Alice as the custodial parent. In computing support for the two children living with Alice, Bob's gross income is reduced by a sum, computed under the Guidelines (from the one child Table) that he would have to pay as support for his child from the other relationship if that child were not living with him and the child's mother has no income. If Bob's gross income is $1,800.00 per month, the child support which he would have to pay for the child of his first relationship is $287.00, so that Bob's monthly gross income would be reduced from $1,800.00 to $1,513.00. Because the support Bob receives is also assumed to be completely spent for the child, it is not considered in the calculation. The same calculation would apply to the modification of a decree.

Section 8. Adjustments to the Award of Child Support.
(a) Child Care Costs. A basic child support award does not cover work-related child care expenses. The court may order an additional amount to cover reasonable net child care expenses (reasonable child care costs minus child care tax credits) up to a pro-rata sharing of the expenses in proportion to their Guideline Income.
(b) Tax Benefits. The actual federal and state income tax benefits recognized by the party entitled to claim the Federal Child Dependency Exemption should be considered in making a child support award. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the court should assign the dependency exemption(s) to the parent who has the greater income. The tax benefit to each parent shall be calculated from the table below using the marital status and guidelines income of each parent at the time of the child support award calculation.
The parent not receiving the exemption(s) is entitled to a pro rata share of the income tax benefit or child tax credit in proportion to his/her share of the guidelines income. The pro rata share of the income tax benefit will be either a credit against or in addition to the basic child support obligation and shall be included in the child support order.


Status at Calculation Date

Guidelines Income of Parent
Federal & Idaho Income Tax Benefit Per Exemption*
Remarried < $15,000
> $15,000 & < $19,000
> $19,000 & < $58,000
> $58,000
$ 0.00
$ 600.00
$1,000.00
$1,400.00
Single-parent has child(ren) more than 50% of overnights < $12,000
> $12,000 & < $16,000>
> $16,000 & < $45,000
> $45,000
$ 0.00
$ 600.00
$1,000.00
$1,400.00
Single-parent has child(ren) less than 50% of overnights < $10,000
> $10,000 & < $14,000
> $14,000 & < $35,000
> $35,000
$ 0.00
$ 600.00
$1,000.00
$1,400.00
Example. Father, Single with child(ren) less than 50% of overnights, $60,000 Guidelines Income, $1,400 Tax Benefit per Exemption; Mother, Single with child(ren) more than 50% of overnights, $20,000 Guidelines Income, $1,000 Tax Benefit per Exemption. Father shall receive exemption(s). Mother is entitled to a pro rata share of father's $1,400 Tax Benefit per Exemption. Mother's pro rata share is 25% ($20,000/$80,000). Therefore, mother will receive a $350 annual addition per exemption (25% x $1,400) or $29.17 addition per month per exemption to the basic child support award.

* For purposes of calculation of the Idaho child support obligation. Tax Benefit includes both the dependency exemption benefit and the child tax credit benefit. The child tax credit is $400 per exemption for a child under 17 years old in 1998.

(c) Health insurance premiums and health care expenses not covered by insurance. (1) For each child support order, consideration should be given to provision of adequate health insurance coverage for the child. Such health insurance should normally be provided by the parent that can obtain suitable coverage through an employer at the lower cost. The actual cost paid by either party for health insurance, including, but not limited to orthodontic, optical, and dental, shall be prorated between the parents in proportion to their Guidelines Income. These payments shall be in addition to the child support award and will be paid directly between the parties. The pro rata share of the monthly insurance premium may instead be either a credit against or in addition to the basic child support obligation.
(2) Any claimed health care expense for the children (whether denominated as psychiatric, psychological, special education, addiction treatment, or counseling in any form and including regular medical or dental care), whether or not covered by insurance, which would result in an actual out-of-pocket expense to the parent who did not incur or consent to the expense of over $500, must be approved in advance, in writing, by both parties or by prior court order. Relief may be granted by the Court for failure to comply under extraordinary circumstances and the Court may, in its discretion, apportion the incurred expense in some percentage other than that in the existing support order and in so doing, may consider whether consent was unreasonably requested or withheld.

Section 9. Income Verification. In all cases (contested, uncontested, or stipulated), the Affidavit Verifying Income and the Child Support Worksheet shall be provided to the court by the plaintiff or moving party. They shall be in substantially the forms attached as Appendix A and B or C to these Guidelines. The Affidavits Verifying Income and the Child Support worksheets shall be placed in the court file. The social security number of each party shall be placed on one of the appendices and on the pleading of the party.

Section 10. Computations. (a) Basic Child Support. The basic child support obligation shall be based upon the Guideline Income of both parents, according to the rates set out in the schedules below: (the amounts are rounded off to the nearest dollar)

One (1) Child Per Month Per Year
17% of the 1st $10,000 of combined Guideline income $142 $1,700
15% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 250 3,000
13% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 217 2,600
10% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 167 2,000
7% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 117 1,400
4% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 67 800
3% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 50 600
3% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 50 600
  $1,060 $12,700
     
Two (2) Children Per Month Per Year
25% of the 1st $10,000 of combined Guideline income $208 $2,500
23% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 383 4,600
20% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 333 4,000
15% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 250 3,000
10% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 167 2,000
7% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 117 1,400
6% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 100 1,200
6% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 100 1,200
  $1,658 $19,900
     
Three (3) Children Per Month Per Year
29% of the 1st $10,000 of combined Guideline income $242 $2,900
27% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 450 5,400
24% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 400 4,800
20% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 333 4,000
13% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 217 2,600
10% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 167 2,000
9% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 150 1,800
9% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 150 1,800
  $2,109 $25,300
     
Four (4) Children Per Month Per Year
31% of the 1st $10,000 of combined Guideline income $258 $3,100
29% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 483 5,800
26% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 433 5,200
21% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 350 4,200
16% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 267 3,200
13% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 217 2,600
12% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 200 2,400
12% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 200 2,400
  $2,408 $28,900
     
Five (5) Children Per Month Per Year
34% of the 1st $10,000 of combined Guideline income $283 $3,400
31% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 517 6,200
28% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 467 5,600
24% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 400 4,800
19% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 317 3,800
16% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 267 3,200
15% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 250 3,000
15% of the next $20,000 of combined Guideline income 250 3,000
  $3,000 $33,000

Samples of these obligations are set forth in the following Basic Monthly Child Support Guidelines Schedule. Guidelines are not limitations on child support for more than five children.

(c) Proration of Child Support. Where both parents have Guidelines Income (either actual or potential) the amount of child support awarded shall be prorated between the parents in proportion to their Guidelines Incomes.
Example. If a couple has two children and the non-custodial parent earns $25,000 a year and the custodial parent $10,000 a year, the child support would be based upon their combined $35,000 of Guideline income at the rates set out above. The first $10,000 would accrue child support at the two-child 25% rate ($208 per month), the second $20,000 would accrue child support at the two-child 23% rate ($383 per month), and $5,000 at the two-child 20% rate ($83 per month), for a total annual child support obligation of $674 per month. That total amount of child support would be divided between the parents in proportion of their Guideline incomes, 10,000/35,000 and 25,000/35,000. Based on these figures, the non-custodial parent would pay 71%, $479 per month to the custodial parent.
(d) Income over $150,000. The guideline income schedules are not a limitation on the award of child support for combined Guidelines Income above $150,000 per year. The support based on the first $150,000 shall be calculated by these Guidelines in proportion to the relative incomes of the parents. In determining any additional support for Guidelines Income above $150,000, the court shall consider all relevant factors, which may include:
(1) The financial resources of the child.
(2) The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both parents, consistent with Section 6(a)(3).
(3) The standard of living the child enjoyed during the marriage.
(4) The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child, including educational needs.
(5) Any special impairment, limitation or disability of the child and any need for special education.
(6) Any special ability or talent of the child and the cost of educating or training that ability or talent.
(7) Any special living conditions that create additional costs for the child.
(e) Shared Physical Custody. (1) Determining shared custody. If there is a true sharing of physical custody and costs, not just extended visitation, then an adjustment in the Guidelines amount shall be made. If the child spends more than 35% of the overnights in a year with each parent, and if a true sharing of physical custody exists, and not just extended visitation rights, and a true sharing of costs, including the amount calculated in accordance with these Guidelines together with other costs of supporting the child, is shown by the party asserting the same, then an adjustment in the Guideline's support shall be made. Other time and costs sharing arrangements, such as one parent providing day care or one parent paying a disproportionate share of costs, may constitute true cost sharing and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Where true cost sharing does not exist, no adjustment should be made regardless of the way time is shared. It is recognized there is an overall increase in child rearing costs created by shared custody.
(2) Computation. To compute the adjustment, the Basic Child Support Guideline obligation shall be multiplied by 1.4. The amount is then multiplied by each parent's percentage of income. The resulting amounts are then multiplied by the percentage of time the child spends with the other parent. The respective child support obligations are then offset, with the parent owing more child support paying the difference between the two amounts. In no event shall a parent be required to pay more support than the parent would have paid had there not been split or shared custody and all children are residing with one parent.
(1)
(f) Extended Visits. In cases not involving shared custody, the Court may reduce the amount of support if a parent has the child for fourteen consecutive days or more. A reasonable reduction would be 50% for the duration of the actual physical custody.
(g) Split Physical Custody. (1) Computation of support. When each parent has physical custody of at least one child, an adjustment shall be made. Under the Guidelines, the Basic Child Support Obligation is multiplied by 1.4. The support amount is then determined for each parent for the child(ren) in the custody of the other. The obligations are then offset, with the parent owing the larger amount paying the difference between the two amounts.
(2) Proration of support. In determining child support amounts under a split custody arrangement, the support obligations shown in the schedule must be prorated among all children in the household. For example, if there are three children due support, of which two are with one parent and one is with the other, support amounts are calculated using the column for three children, with one-third of the amount being used to determine the basic support obligation for one child and two-thirds for two children.

Section 11. Disability and Retirement Benefits Paid to Child. When disability dependency benefits or dependency retirement benefits are paid on behalf of or on account of the child or children of a disabled or retired person, the amount of compensation paid for the children shall be treated for all purposes as if the disabled or retired paying parent paid the compensation toward satisfaction of the child support obligation award and the amount paid shall be included in the guideline income of the paying parent. If the amount paid to the children exceeds the current child support obligation of the disabled or retired person, such excess shall be credited against any child support in arrearage accruing after disablement or retirement, but such excess shall not be credited against any future child support obligation. However, under no circumstance shall the disabled or retired person receive reimbursement or payment of any part of such excess above the current child support obligation.

Section 12. Expression of Child Support. Child support should be stated as total monthly support for all children, and when a child is no longer entitled to support the amounts shall be reduced in accordance with the schedule of the Guidelines.
Example. If there are three children initially, and later one child emancipates, the amount of support will not be reduced by one-third, but will reflect the appropriate amount from the schedule for two children, and later one child.

1 A mathematical disparity occurs when there are five or more children and a substantial difference in incomes. In that case, if one child lives with the higher-income parent the support obligation is more than if all children lived with the lower-income parent.


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