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Delaware Child Support Guidelines

Federal law requires all states to have guidelines for establishing and modifying child support obligations. The Delaware child support guidelines are referred to as the "Delaware Child Support Formula." This formula provides a rebuttable presumption for calculating child support obligations within Delaware.

In other words, the court will issue child support awards in accordance with these guidelines unless applying the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. If the court finds that applying the guidelines wouldn't be in the best interests of the child(ren) in a given case, then they will deviate from the guidelines.

Delaware's child support formula is based on the following three principles:

  1. Each parent is entitled to keep a minimum amount of income for their basic needs
  2. Each child's basic needs are taken care of before the parents may retain any additional income, and
  3. If income is available after the primary needs of the parents and each child are met, then the child(ren) is (are) entitled to share in any additional income of the parents


How Basic Child Support Obligations Are Calculated

In Delaware, child support is calculated based primarily on a parent's net available income. A parent's net available income is determined by taking the parent's monthly gross income and subtracting taxes, other allowable deductions, and a self support allowance.

  • Monthly gross income: A combination of the parent's wages (salaries, commissions, bonuses, and other income), income earned as an independent contractor, all unearned taxable income (dividends, severance pay, pensions, workers' compensation, etc.), and other income that isn't subject to income tax.
  • Taxes: Federal and state taxes.
  • Other allowable deductions: Medical insurance, pensions, union dues, disability insurance, any court ordered alimony payments to the other parent, and other allowable business expenses.
  • Self support allowance: The minimum amount of income necessary for a parent to remain productive in a workplace. Each parent is given a self-support allowance of $1,110.

Income Attribution

What if a parent is unemployed or underemployed? If a parent is unemployed, underemployed, or fails to provide adequate documentation of their wages, the court may attribute income to them. In order to figure out how much income will be attributed to the parent, the court examines earnings history, employment qualifications, and the current job market.

Child Support Enforcement in Delaware

The Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) provides information and assistance regarding applying for child support and enforcement measurers in Delaware. The DCSE has authority to enforce child support payments in a variety of ways including:

  • Income withholding orders
  • License suspension
  • Lottery intercept
  • Passport Denial
  • Tax refund intercept

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Delaware's child support guidelines contact a local family law attorney.

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