It has recently come to light that the court may have been calculating child support incorrectly. This revelation comes to light from a Mercer County case where an attorney recalculated child support using the software in his office and came up with the different result than the Court. As a result, the attorney wrote to the Court and the Court directed the matter to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for review. Sure enough, the attorney was correct and a corrected Order was entered.
Since the support as calculated by the Court’s child support software was about 10% too high, this has raised concern among the bar whether all support orders calculated by the Court in the recent past have been too high.
When the new Child Support Guidelines came out about a dozen years ago, there were essentially two main software packages that calculated support and the Court had one of the two. While they usually were close, it was not uncommon for their to be a slight deviation in the calculations. If there was a real discrepancy, the Court would usually accept the guidelines calculated using the same software that the Court had.
Several years ago, the Court went to a web based program to calculate child support. This program was not available to the public or attorneys. It now appears that there could be a problem with this program.
If this is so, who knows how long it has been going on. Perhaps there was user error in the matter described above – but that does not seem to be the case. Further, as both the taxes considered and other aspects of the Guidelines are essentially updated yearly, perhaps there was a programing error in the most recent update. Worse yet would be if there has been a "glitch" in the Court’s program since it’s inception.
In the mean time, if your child support was calculated by the Court, you may want to have the calculations checked.
Either way, stay tuned for updates on this story.