How is Iowa Child Support Calculated?

How is Child Support Calculated for Multiple Families in Iowa?

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 7, 2019

In this article, we answer the questions “how is child support calculated?”, and “how does providing support for children of multiple families impact my child support payments?”

How is Child Support Calculated?

In Iowa, child support is calculated based on the “net income” of both parents and the number of children involved.  “Net income” is defined as gross income minus state and federal taxes, and Medicare and social security tax deductions.  Additional deductions can be made in certain circumstances, such as paying into a mandatory pension or for union dues.  If you pay child care expenses or support other children, you may qualify for additional deductions as well.  Each situation is different, so the Iowa Department of Human Services provides an Iowa Child Support Estimator to assist in the calculation of child support.  Before using the guidelines and estimator tools, make sure you know the gross income of both parties from all sources.  You can also utilize the Iowa Child Support Guidelines Worksheet as a resource to determine deductions and calculations.  A comprehensive copy of the Chapter 9 Child Support Guidelines for the state of Iowa can be found here.

How Does Providing Support for Children of Multiple Families Impact My Child Support Payments?

Both parents have a legal obligation to pay support in the state of Iowa, so paying support to another family does not absolve either party of liability to their children under any circumstances.  If a person has multiple child support obligations, the timeline of when each child support order was entered by the court is very important.  If you are seeking child support from a parent who has a pre-existing child support obligation to another family, that parent's net income will be reduced by the amount of the previous child support obligation.

When the new law went into effect in July of 2017, the non-custodial parent's child support obligation will be based on his or her net income relative to the custodial parent.  The effect of a previous child support obligation will be to reduce the non-custodial parent's net income by the amount of that obligation, thereby reducing that parent's responsibility for the total amount of child support.  

If the non-custodial parent has families in multiple states, each state's particular laws would determine how much will be awarded for child support for the family residing in that state.  However, each state will still give priority to earlier out-of-state child support obligations when determining net income.

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