Archive | June, 2012

What Are Montana Child Support Calculations?

Child Support Calculations in Montana are described in the Administrative Rules of Montana. The guidelines were created by the Department of Public Health and Human Performance under the authority of 40-5-209, MCA. That statute states that the guidelines should be created for the purpose of establishing a standard to be used by the district courts, child support enforcement agencies, attorneys and parents in determining child support obligations.

The guidelines are based on the principle that that parent’s first priority is to meet the needs of their child according to their financial ability. The child is very much the focus of these guidelines. So much so, that the guidelines specifically state that the child’s standard of living should not be adversely affected because of the parents’ separation. Of course, that’s not always possible, but to the extent that it is – that’s what the guidelines seek to establish. These guidelines apply to contested, non-contested and default proceedings to establish or modify support orders in Montana.

The guidelines create a presumption of the adequacy and reasonableness of child support awards. This means that the amount reached in a calculation isn’t necessarily final, but a Court will assume that it is unless evidence is presented that a child’s needs are or are not being met. If such a change is requested (the guidelines refer to it as a variance) the Court is to consider a variety of factors such as: the financial resources of the child; the financial resources of the parents; the standard of living that the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved; the physical and emotional condition of the child and the child’s educational and medical needs; the age of the child; the cost of day care for the child; any parenting plan that is ordered or decided upon; and the needs of any person, other than the child, whom either parent is legally obligated to support.

If the Court is going to order a support obligation that is different than the result of the child support calculation, it is absolutely necessary that the decree, separation order or support order contains a specific written finding showing justification that application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate.

What You Need to do a Montana Child Support Calculation

The quality of your child support calculation is directly tied to how accurate the information you input is. The better your information, the better the calculation. The worse your information, the worse your calculation. The best way to get a good result on your calculation is to do your homework beforehand. Of course, sometimes you’re just looking for a quick answer to give yourself a ballpark idea. If that’s the case, estimates can be used. But if you’re preparing a child support calculation to submit to a Court or Child Support Enforcement Division, it’s important that you use current and correct data.

With that in mind, here are some things you should collect before starting your calculation:

A Child Support Guidelines Financial Affidavit: both parents should complete and sign this form with the most accurate information available. Not only will it help your child support calculation, it’s required by the law if you’re involved in a court case.

Tax Returns, W-2 and 1099 forms for the last two years for both parents: These will provide precise answers to many of the questions that the child support calculator asks.

Current Pay Stubs: for both parents.

Child Care Expenses: this applies both to children in the calculation and other children living in the house. The calculator will consider each separately, so you’ll need to know how they break down.

Children’s Health Insurance Premiums: Again, this applies both to children in the calculation, and other children if one of the parents is ordered to pay premiums for the other children.

Mandatory Retirement Contributions: be sure to note the difference between mandatory and non-mandatory retirement contributions. If you’re not sure, it’s best to ask.

Alimony Ordered by Court or Administrative Order: in Montana we refer to Alimony as Maintenance – both are the same for these purposes.

Child Support Ordered by Court or Adminstrative Order for other Children: If you are paying child support for a child not covered by the calculation you are performing, that amount is included in the calculation. But, it only counts if there’s a Court or Administrative order requiring you to pay the child support. If you’re doing it out of the goodness of your heart, it doesn’t count.

Required Employment Expenses: These are expenses that you have no choice but to incur because of your job. For many people, the line here is difficult to draw. As a general rule, if your employer didn’t specifically tell you to buy something – it doesn’t count.

Unlimited Child Support Calculations

For only $99, you get 30 days unlimited access to our calculator. Create as many different calculations as you’d like for 30 days. At the end of that time, the calculations are yours to keep in an easy to store electronically, or can is properly formatted for filing with the Court.

After your 30 days are up, we’ll keep your calculations online for one year. You can view and print them, but they can’t be edited without purchasing another 30 day pass.

Decide that you want more time? It’s simple, just purchase another 30 days at any time and we’ll bring you right back to where you were. You’ll still have access to all your calculations that you created before, and you can edit any of those you’d like. Or, you can get started creating a whole new slate of calculations. Most people do a little of both.

The Montana Child Support Calculator is the easiest way to find out what you’re owed. For less than the cost of an hour with an attorney, you can spend a month exploring all the different ways your child support obligation may play out.

Child Support Calculations Without Downloads

MT Child Support is completely online. There’s nothing to download, nothing to install, nothing to update, nothing to break. We make sure that everything is fresh and up to date to ensure that your calculations are always correct. Need a calculation done for a few years ago? No problem, our system tracks different versions of the child support algorithm making it simple to create calculations for years gone by.

And the best part? Because everything is online and web based you can access your information from anywhere. Start a calculation at work, review it at home, then print it at the library. It’s always there, at your fingertips.

Other child support calculators release periodic updates that you need to install on your computer in order to have the newest information. Our updates happen behind the scenes without you having to do a thing. You can rest assured that the program you’re using is always based on the newest and most accurate information available. All without you needing to install or update a thing.

No more wondering whether you’ve installed the newest update. Or whether a new update has been released but you haven’t gotten it yet. Just log in and get started calculating.

No more being stuck without access to your calculations. If you’ve got an internet connection, you can access your information.

So what are you waiting for?

Calculating Child Support in Montana

The way to calculate child support in Montana can be found in the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARMs). These rules were created by the Department of Public Health and Human Services, which is an administrative agency of Montana. The Child Support Enforcement Division is a part of DPHHS. The administrative rules describe how to calculate child support in Montana, but unfortunately can be tough to read.

The Department puts out a worksheet that makes the math easier. You can find these sheets on DPHHS’ website at:

The first worksheet is 27 steps long and may involve completing another worksheet all together. The instructions can be found on that same site, but may or may not shed much light on the situation. You may also need to review the original administrative rules if you need further help.

Luckily, there’s another option. We provide an online child support calculator that uses this formula, but does all the hard work for you. You enter the numbers, and we’ll figure out the calculations. You can make as many changes as you like, because for one payment you can create an unlimited number of calculations, access them online from anywhere, and print court-ready versions of the documents. If you’re involved in a divorce with children or a child custody dispute, Montana is going to require that you provide child support calculations during the court process. Why not find out what those calculations will be?