So what are the factors to consider? It includes the income of both parents, taxes, amount of time spent with the kids, add-ons (child care, health insurance) and deductions (alimony, other child support obligations). If one parent is not working but is able to work, the court figures out how much Mom/Dad is capable of earning and uses that number in the calculations. While the courts cannot force you to work, they still consider your potential income. Moreover, only required tax deductions count in the total, so the figure the court uses may not match your take-home pay. Both parents calculated income is put into the pot. Then you consider the number of children in the family and this will equal your basic child support award (total cost of raising your children).
So why does only one person pay for child support? There is still more to consider. This basic child support award is split in proportion to the incomes. Say, Dad makes 60%; Mom makes 40% of the total income. Not done yet. Also, the amount of time spent with the kids is a factor. You are not expected to pay for 60% of the cost of food for the kids if you are already paying for 100% of their food during the time that they are with you. See, it is complicated. The add-ons like child care, and cost of health insurance for the children or deductions like alimony or child support from other relationships, make a difference in the bottom-line number. Finally, the amount can also be influenced by when support starts. Adolescents are more expensive than younger children. If your child is a teenager when support starts, the amount can increase by as much as 14.6%.
After all these factors are considered, you are left with a final support order. This is the amount that one parent pays to the other parent to help equalize the monies that both parents contribute to the cost of raising their children in two homes. Both parents pay- yet, the money from one parent is not seen, so it may look like one parent pays 100% and the other parents pays 0%. Take my advice—use a professional when figuring child support. There are too many variables to consider for a simple calculator you found online to get it right.