Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines

Family courts in Rhode Island issue child support awards because it is the responsibility of both parents to provide financially for their children. There are two parents in every child support case, the "custodial parent" and the "non-custodial parent." The custodial parent lives with the child and bears the primary day-to-day responsibility for childcare. The custodial parent is entitled to receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent may have visitation or joint custody of the child and is obligated to pay child support.

The court issues child support awards based on the state's child support guidelines, unless the court finds that the resulting order would be inequitable to the child or either parent. The court considers the following factors when determining whether or not to deviate from the support guidelines:

  • The financial resources of the child
  • The financial resources of the custodial parent
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not dissolved
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her educational needs, and
  • The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent

Child support awards are calculated using the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. The table below outlines the main figures needed to complete the child support guidelines worksheet.

Code Section

Rhode Island Administrative Order 2012-05: Determination of Child Support Amount

Monthly Gross Income

 

A parent's "income" is their actual gross income, if they are employed to full capacity, or potential income if the parent is unemployed or underemployed.

Gross income includes income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interests, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker's compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, gifts, prizes, alimony, and all other forms of earned/unearned income.

If the parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support should be calculated based on a determination of potential income. Potential income shouldn't be imputed on a parent that is physically or mentally incapacitated.

Deductions

 

Deduct the following from the parent's monthly gross income in order to calculate each parent's "monthly adjusted gross income":
  • Pre-existing child support orders
  • Health insurance paid for the child(ren)
  • 50% or less of a parent's support obligation for additional minor dependents, and
  • Any other adjustments that the court deems appropriate

Percentage Share of Income

 

To calculate each parent's share of income, divide each parent's monthly adjusted gross income by the parents' combined monthly adjusted gross incomes. This figure represents what percent of the basic child support obligation each parent is required to contribute.

Basic Child Support Obligations

 

The basic child support obligation is determined by using the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations based on the parents' combined adjusted gross incomes and the number of children for whom the support order is being sought.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Rhode Island's child support guidelines contact a local family law lawyer.

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