Rhode Island Child Support & Parenting Time Calculations
In Rhode Island, the amount of child support is figured based on a percentage of each parent's income, and parenting time doesn't factor into the formula.
Rhode Island uses a basic child support formula that uses parental income to determine the amount of payment. Accurate parenting time numbers don't directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.
Rhode Island attorneys and judges often rely on parenting time estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting parenting time is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.
Using estimates means your parenting time totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. Keep your parenting time fair and exact with accurate records.
To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to add up hours for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.
The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.
Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total parenting time, and you can see how your parenting time changes each year due to holidays and other events.
You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.
In any divorce, Rhode Island family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. In many states, physical custody has an impact on the amount of child support, but not in Rhode Island.
In a Rhode Island physical custody case, the family court will designate a primary physical custodian. The residential parent hosts the children the majority of the time. The non-residential parent has visitation or parenting time.
A Rhode Island family court awards shared physical custody to most cases, except where the children's best interests or a parent's health or safety are an issue. Rhode Island family courts reject child support adjustments based on the time the child spends with a parent.
In Rhode Island, a single child support formula is used to determine child support amounts for both sole and shared custody. Unlike some other states, Rhode Island gives no automatic parenting time credit that can reduce your child support amount.
In the Rhode Island formula, each parent's gross income is determined and then allowable deductions are made. Deductions can include health insurance obligations for the children or day care expenses, for example. The net income is then used in the child support formula.
In Rhode Island, the non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent.
Rhode Island family courts decline to put a dollar amount on non-residential parent spending time with their children, and currently do not tie compensation or credits to figuring child support amounts.
Accurate parenting time percentages are important because in Rhode Island, the law allows for a family court to consider certain deviations from the child support amount.
If you can show your parenting time schedule far exceeds what is considered standard, you may be able to convince a judge to reduce your child support amount.
While this scenario is rare, at least you can present the court with accurate parenting time numbers.
Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's net income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's net income is $2,400 per month. They have two children.
See how the child support amounts change in these examples:
- Scenario #1: Robert is the non-residential parent. According to the Rhode Island child support formula, Robert pays $969 in child support each month to Mary.
- Scenario #2: Mary is the non-residential parent. Mary pays $581 in child support to Robert.
- Scenario #3: Robert and Mary earn the same amount, $4,000 per month, but she is designated as the residential parent. Robert pays $885 in child support to Mary.
In Rhode Island, the child support formula results in the non-residential parent paying child support to the residential parent, regardless of income.
Rhode Island's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for shared custody child support:
- Each parent's monthly gross income.
- The number of children who are under 18 or still in high school.
- Certain deduction amounts, such as the cost of health insurance premiums for the children or the cost of child care.
- A pre-existing child support or alimony obligation by either parent
Parenting time does not figure into the child support formula. However, you could submit your total parenting time to the court to show whether it is substantially in excess of the standard visitations in Rhode Island.
Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.
Here are some other reasons why accurate overnight numbers help you, the other parent and your children:
- It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
- It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
- It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
- It is compliant with Rhode Island law
Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.
To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Rhode Island, remember these 5 things:
- Rhode Island family courts prefer to award shared custody to divorcing parents, unless one of the parents is considered unfit.
- Child support and visitation rights are separate issues in Rhode Island, so there is no parenting time adjustment or child support credit given to non-residential parents.
- The Rhode Island courts use a state guideline to determine what the non-residential parent will pay. The guidelines specify that both parent's income and the number of children to support are key factors in figuring correct child support amounts.
- The non-residential parent pays child support to the residential parent, regardless of income.
- Rhode Island law does allow family courts to approve deviations from the child support formula. One possibility might be that the non-residential parent's parenting time greatly exceeds what is considered standard visitation.
Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to an Rhode Island family court.