In 2012, a number of significant changes were introduced to the Montana Child Support Guidelines and Worksheets. The most obvious change is that a new worksheet was introduced. Although it’s essentially identical to the previous version, it has an entirely new look that is obvious at a glance. Overall, it’s easier to read and provides a clearer and more succinct end result. But, a number of changes were made to the rules as well that can produce different outcomes in calculations.
For example, the guidelines income rule was divided into two different rules: 1) Actual Income; and 2) Imputed Income. For the purposes of determining child support, parents are presumed to be able to work full-time (which is usually 40 hours per week). One interesting facet of the new rule (ARM 37.62.105) is that it allows for consideration of a parent’s assets where it would be inappropriate not to do so. CSED has stated that this is intended to apply to cases in which income is lacking or does not reflect the parent’s standard of living and it may be appropriate to impute earnings to the net market value of the parent’s non-income-producing assets. It’s clear this provision is not expected to be used often.
Another interesting addition to the Child Support Guidelines is paragraph 5 of Rule 4 which addresses overtime and second job income. Both of these are to be included for child support, however – there is a distinction between mandatory and voluntary overtime. It is possible to overcome the presumption regarding voluntary overtime. If it is for a limited time and/or a specific purpose (e.g. paying extraordinary medical expenses) the presumption may be rebutted and the overtime pay not included as income for child support.
This is not an exhaustive list of the changes, just a quick note to let you know about a few of them. It’s important to remember that the child support guidelines change periodically. A old calculation may not longer be correct or accurate. Although a change in the rules is probably not enough to seek a court order for recalculation of child support, it can still have a large impact child support and calculations that are ongoing.