Parents involved in the Rhode Island Child Support system should be aware of the background of the system to better understand it’s workings and foundation.

Pursuant to the income shares model developed by the National Center for State Courts, under a grant from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, a child support formula was first enacted into law on October 1, 1987. This child support formula and guidelines, commonly referred to as the “guidelines,” provides a method of determining a fair and equitable child support order.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws Section 15-5-16.2, the Court makes findings of fact based upon the following:

  • 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 been dissolved
  • the physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her emotional needs
  • the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent

The Court examines the gross income of the parents as it will order child support to be the priority bill to be paid, with all other budgetary needs and issues deemed to be subordinate.

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