The links below correspond to screens in the software.
In most states, the child support data entries are all on a single screen.
This screen is on the Client Info tab.
It is important that you make your entries on this screen, and not on the Forms & Reports tab.
That is because these entries carry not only to child support, but also to the tax calculation, the financial affidavit, the Budget Report, What If Analysis, Guideline What If, and so on.
Entries that you make directly on the child support calculation screen on the Forms & Reports tab will not carry anywhere else.
So please be sure to make your entries on the screens on the Client Info tab.
Click the triangles to open each group of entries.
The child support result appears in a banner at the bottom of the screen and updates with each entry you make.
If you do not see the child support result in the banner at the bottom, click the link on the left to highlight the screen you are currently on.
Click the “add child” button to add a child.
Click the button once for each child.
The child’s birth date is used to determine whether the child is of eligible age. It is also used in the projections, relating to step-downs of child support in future years.
The software will set the “eligible age” box based on the birth date, but you may change that setting if, for example, the child is disabled and will remain eligible for child support after reaching the age of majority.
Make entries for children of the relationship, and also children living with a party who are not of the relationship. There is a checkbox to indicate that a child is not a child of the relationship.
You enter children not of the relationship because they may count as tax exemptions, which affect the tax calculation.
Also, many states give credit in the child support guideline calculation for children who are living with a party who are not of the relationship. These credits include:
· The adjustment for a hardship child in California.
· The Imputed Child Credit in Connecticut.
· The deduction for legal responsibility for children not of this marriage in Colorado
· The Other Dependent Deduction in New Jersey.
· The adjustment for children of other relationships in Illinois.
· The adjustment for non-joint children in the home in Minnesota.
· The adjustment for other minor children not of this order in Ohio.
· The Multiple Family reduction in Pennsylvania.
All you have to do is check the box to specify that a child is not of this relationship, and the software will do the rest.
Fill in all of the other relevant entries on each line. As appropriate, click the help buttons next to each entry.
Please note that the little button on this line (next to the overnights) is a helpful pop-up overnights calculator.
You can enter the number of overnights per week, per every two weeks, per month, and holidays. The software will automatically calculate the number of overnights per year and the percentage of overnights.
Alternatively, you can directly enter the percentage, and the software will calculate the number of overnights per year.
The overnights calculator will only appear in states where the number of overnights is a factor in the child support guideline calculation.
In states where shared custody is calculated differently than sole custody, the software will automatically determine whether shared custody applies based on the number of overnights and any other factors used by the state.
The shared custody worksheet will automatically appear.
There is nothing you have to do, other than entering the number of overnights for each child.
If a different party is primarily custodial for different children, the software will automatically do a Split Custody calculation.
One exception to this is New York, where you may calculate child support in split custody situations as follows: enter only the children in the custody of one party and calculate child support. Enter only children in the custody of the other party and calculate child support. Manually net the two numbers.
In this section, enter each party’s wages for a pay period that you choose, and filing status.
If you change the pay period, that will not automatically cause wages to change.
You must manually make sure that the wages and pay period are in sync.
You also see a check box to specify whether the wages or self-employment income.
If it is self-employment income, check the box.
As an alternative, you can enter self-employment income as income from a Business. You would enter that with the Business asset further down on this screen.
Typically, if the business has value, then you would enter it with a Business assets.
If there is no separate business value, as, for example, if the individual is simply a consultant, then there is no need to create a Business asset.
Do not enter the same income twice. That is, do not enter it both with wages and with the Business asset. That would be double counting.
If the person has two wages, click the “add wage” button, located below the wage data entry fields, for each additional wage.
By default, the software assumes that the wage income is subject both to FICA and Medicare taxes.
If the party is not subject to FICA and/or Medicare, you may specify the applicable taxes on the “more” screen. Click the word “more” immediately under the wage fields.
On the “more” screen, you can also change assumptions that relate to cash flow projections, including the rate of growth of wages.
The filing status in the current year is used in the child support guideline calculation.
The software may ask for the filing status in future years in case you are doing cash flow projections.
If you do not see an entry here for filing status in future years, it will also be found on the Background & Child screen.
This section lists a number of types of income which are not wage income, but which nonetheless count as income for child support calculation purposes.
It also includes public assistance income and new spouse income, neither of which will count for child support guideline purposes, so that we can keep all similar items together.
Public assistance and new spouse income do flow to the Budget Report and to tax calculations, as appropriate.
New spouse income will flow only to the tax report, and then only if the filing status is “joint with new spouse.”
If any income is nontaxable, place an X in the box labeled “non-tax”? Certain forms of income, such as public assistance, child support, and workers compensation, that are generally not taxable, are already marked.
Click [fn] to enter a footnote for the income. The footnote will appear on the Budget Report and the financial affidavit.
If you know the annual or weekly amount, but “monthly” is listed, just click the small box that appears in the field where your cursor is.
A pop-up will appear, which allow you to enter the number annually, or weekly, or for any time period.
You will also be able to specify an entry such as “Unknown,” or “To be determined” for the entry.
This section allows you to enter income from assets to be counted for child support (and the financial affidavit, Budget Report, What If Analysis, etc.).
To create the asset, click the link to add the asset.
Enter the asset’s value (which is used elsewhere, but not for the child support calculation), and the income from the asset.
Also be sure to enter the percent ownership of the asset, because this is used to determine how much of the income should flow to each party in the child support calculation.
In this section, you enter items that are deductible for child support guideline purposes.
These are sometimes the same as items that are deductible for tax purposes, but some items are deductible for child support and not taxes, and some items are deductible for taxes but not child support.
Depending on your state, you may see links for additional worksheets in this section.
Please be sure to click those links.
This is the bottom section of this screen, and it is a very important one.
There are two parts to the section, a part for child support a part for alimony (which could be called spousal support or maintenance, depending on your state).
Using the entries on this screen, the software calculates child support.
In the section on “child support to use,” you specify whether you want this calculated amount to be used in the Budget Report, What If Analysis, and other financial reports.
Also, if you are doing financial projections, you can click the link to view the software’s calculation of step-downs, and override it if you find it is not correct in this case.
In this section, you specify that alimony that you want to use in the Budget Report, What If Analysis, and other financial reports.
In some states, the software will calculate an alimony amount.
In that case, you specify whether the alimony amount should be used in the other financial reports.
In some states, the alimony that you enter will also be used in the child support guideline calculation.
If your state is one of those, then be sure to enter a number here, if appropriate, so that it can carry to the child support guideline calculation.
In states where the software calculates alimony, there are sometimes also provisions to calculate duration of alimony. Those calculations typically depend on start date and end date of the marriage. Be sure to enter those dates.
Below the alimony entries, the software automatically calculates and shows you the present value of the alimony payments.
By default, alimony (spousal support, maintenance) is specified to be not taxable to the recipient and not tax deductible to the payer for federal income tax purposes.
You will find the checkbox that controls this either at the top of the screen on the Client Info tab where you enter child support data, or on the same screen, in the section on Alimony to Use.
If the alimony (spousal support, maintenance) is from an agreement that was entered into before 2019, and it is taxable and tax deductible, clear this checkbox.