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Child Support Calculations-Involving Foster Care/Guardianship

Does anyone have Guidelines or Policy specific to calculating CS when a child is NOT in the custody of both of their parents? We have been running into this with our Foster Care and Guardianship cases where we don’t necessarily want to use the Guardians income (and haven’t) but what was done in the past is making each absent parent pay 100%, meaning the child receives 200% payment from the parents (if actually paid). Looking at this doesn’t seem fair, the other issue we are running up against is when one parent actually works, usually they pay higher amount than a regular case and the other absent parent doesn’t contribute. Which we want the absent parents paying support to the child(ren) but at the same time doesn’t seem fair to all involved. So looking for assistance in this. We looked at making both absent parents pay 50% of the 100% obligation but this did not change much of the calculation when one parent worked. Looked at making all of these type cases minimum wage but that takes away from the child. Also looked at having guardian responsible for 20% care and both parents 40% each, as our Tribal Code states a guardian must be able to financially care for a child they take custody of.  

3 Responses

  1. Not sure why you would obligate both parents at 100%. We use income of both parents and if one doesn’t work we use minimum wage and the % comes out 100% split between the two parents according to their % of obligation using our C/S guidelines. Of course if you know the cost of that Foster Care you can request the court that the parents reimburse that cost according to their % obligation. I remember a case we did this on a temporary foster care. The child went back to the custodial parent and the cost of that temporary Foster Care was ordered to be paid by both parents according to their % of obligation. But, the NCP still owes the CP and so when NCP gets caught up paying the arrears to CP then what he pays additional will go towards cost of Foster Care and Social Services will then start getting paid back from NCP’s % of cost obligation. We never use Guardians Income.

  2. We calculate Foster Care cases just as we calculate a normal case. Each parent would have their own 100% separate case and order. Each order would be based upon that non-custodial parent’s income. If the non-custodial parent is voluntarily unemployed, his/her income is imputed at the federal minimum wage. If a parent is seeking work but unable to be employed, his/her obligation would be set at the minimum amount, $50.00 per month.

  3. We work those cases similar to how Jessie Archibald described. When we impute we most often use federal minimum wage @ 35 hours/week or 20 hour/week depending on the circumstances. We also use a minimum amount of $50.

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