Rhode Island Child Support

Child Support in Rhode Island - Frequently Asked Questions

provided by David Slepkow, Esq.

1)  What if my child's parent works overtime? Will overtime be included in child support?

There is no standard law or rules in Rhode Island regarding whether or not the non-possessory parents overtime will be used to calculate child support. One Judge in Rhode Island consistently rules that overtime compensation cannot be used to calculate child support. However, that same Judge will consistently go 15 percent over the Child Support Guidelines.

Other Judges in Rhode Island have different opinions regarding overtime. The Family is a court of equity/fairness. Judges in Rhode Island will typically look at whether or not a person consistently works overtime over a substantial period of time. Judges may also look at whether or not overtime is consistently offered to a spouse. If overtime is infrequent or not typically offered Judges may be hesitant to calculate overtime as a factor of child support. In that case, many attorneys argue that a person income should be calculated using their W2 or gross income for the entire calendar year. By calculating gross income over an entire calendar year even infrequent overtime becomes an element of child support.

Judges may also look at other factors such as the needs and expenses of both parties and any extraordinary expenses for the child. At least one Judge has suggested that the possessory parent get a percentage of the overtime that is worked by the nonpossessory parent. Other Judges in Rhode Island believe that overtime should always be a factor in child support. Often the issue of overtime is negotiated by the lawyers prior to any formal ruling by the Judge. Please call me at (401) 437-1100 for a free initial consultation.

2)  My child is about to turn 18 but is still in high school and living at home, can I still get child support?

Under Rhode Island Law, child support should end when a child turns 18. However, if a child is 18 and is still in high school, then the court may award child support in its discretion, but only until the child turns 19 or graduates high school. In practice, if a child is still living at home and is 18 and still in high school, the court will almost always order that child support continue until the child graduates high school or turns 19, whichever comes first.

Child support in Rhode Island automatically continues even after the child turns 18 until the child turns 19 unless a Motion to terminate child support is filed. If you are a non-possessory parent, your best option is to file a Motion to Terminate Child Support approximately 20 days prior to your child turning 18. This will mean that the motion will be heard on a court date soon after the child turns 18. Please note, that the nonpossessory parent can still be found in contempt for failure to pay child support even after the child turns 18 if there is no motion granted to terminate the child support.

3)  Can I get my child's father to be ordered to pay for my child's college education?

In Rhode Island the Court has no jurisdiction to order a parent to pay for the college education of his/her child. However, if pursuant to a Property Settlement Agreement or other contract, one party agrees to pay for a child's education, then that agreement may be enforced by a court of law. Therefore, if you seek to have your child's parent pay for your child's college education, then you must negotiate payment of college expenses as part of a global settlement of the divorce/custody agreement or other similar agreement. Please call me, David Slepkow, for a free initial consultation.

4)  Who is going to pay for my child's daycare?

The Rhode Island minimum child support guidelines take into account both the importance and expense of daycare. The child support guidelines and worksheet are used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid by the nonpossessory parent. The bottom line is that a party will be ordered to pay approximately the same percentage of the daycare that, that party makes in relation to that party's percentage of the combined gross income of both parties.

For example: If husband makes $100,000.00 and wife makes $50,000.00 the combined gross income for the parties is $150,000.00. Therefore, husband makes 66 percent of the income and will be ordered to pay 66 percent of the daycare in addition to child support. (There may be an adjustment to take into account the Federal tax credit.) This amount is added onto the minimum Child Support Guidelines amount. Please call me, David Slepkow, for a free initial consultation (401) 437-1100.

5)  How do I modify child support?

In Rhode Island child support can only be modified if there is a substantial change of circumstances. In order to get a substantial change of circumstances, the child support amount must be 10 percent more or less than the old child support order. The change in circumstances could result from loss of a job, increase of income of either party, new dependents, loss of overtime, unemployment, a disability, etc. Please call me, David Slepkow, for a free initial consultation (401) 437-1100.