How to Calculate Child Support Payments in Idaho

Learn how child support is calculated under Idaho's guidelines, when the amount of support may be different than the standard calculation, and how to apply for, collect, and modify support.

By , Legal Editor

Unlike many other states, Idaho doesn't provide an official, online calculator for child support. In order to get an accurate estimate of the amount of child support you'll pay or receive, you'll need to use one of the state's child support worksheets. Some of the calculations can be complicated, but we'll explain the basic rules and how to get help.

How to Apply for Child Support in Idaho

Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Idaho. You'll include your completed child support worksheets along with the other divorce papers.

If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for services from Idaho Child Support Services (CSS). There's a $25 application fee unless you're receiving public benefits like Medicaid or SNAP. CSS will work with both parents to calculate the proposed support amount under the Idaho Child Support Guidelines. If needed, the agency can also help establish paternity.

How to Use Idaho's Child Support Worksheets

On the Idaho Rules of Family Law Procedure page, you can find links to the child support worksheets, as well as the income affidavit (Form 5) and the full Idaho Child Support Guidelines (Rule 120).

Depending on how you'll handle physical custody (parenting time) of your children, you'll choose one of the following worksheets:

  • Standard Child Support Worksheet (Form 6): Use this worksheet when one parent will have all of the children at least 75% of the time.
  • Shared, Split, or Mixed Custody Worksheet (Form 7): Use this worksheet when each parent will have the children more than 25% of the time (shared custody), each will have custody of at least one of their children (split custody), or they'll have different custody arrangements for different siblings (mixed custody).

In shared custody situations, you'll need to know how many overnights the child will be spending with each parent. If you're still negotiating custody, you might try multiple calculations under different scenarios.

Along with your parenting arrangements, you should also gather information about your finances, including:

  • both parents' income
  • spousal maintenance (alimony) received from (or paid to) the other parent in this case
  • support being paid for a child from another relationship
  • expenses for work-related child care, and
  • the cost of health insurance premiums for the child.

In order to determine the right amount of income to use on the worksheet ("ICSG" income), you should first fill in the income affidavit. To complete the worksheets, you'll also need to refer to Idaho's Basic Monthly Child Support Guidelines Schedule. The guidelines themselves include the rules and tables for calculating the tax benefit for the child dependency exemption if the parents haven't agreed how to divide those benefits.

Getting Help With Child Support Calculations in Idaho

You aren't alone if it seems too complicated or difficult to complete the child support worksheet. But help is available. If you aren't receiving services from the Idaho CSS (as discussed above), your local Idaho Court Assistance Office will usually provide help with child support calculations. Some of these offices offer special workshops on completing the forms.

But in certain situations, particularly if you have a complex parenting schedule or if you and your co-parent aren't able to agree about custody and support, you may need a lawyer's help.

When Child Support May Be Different Than the Guideline Calculation

Idaho presumes that the amount calculated under the guidelines is the correct, but you may argue that a different amount would be better in your situation. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a different amount or the judge decides for you, you'll need to provide evidence demonstrating why the guideline amount would be unfair or inappropriate in your case. (Idaho Code § 32-706(5) (2024).)

How to Collect Child Support in Idaho

Wage withholding is often used for paying child support. That way, the support payments are deducted from the paying parent's paychecks and are forwarded to the recipient parent. Without wage withholding, the Idaho CSS offers various other ways to make child support payments.

If you're having trouble collecting support payments, the CSS can also help with enforcing child support. Depending on how much the other parent owes, the agency has several enforcement methods, including:

  • reporting the debt to credit bureaus
  • intercepting income tax refunds
  • withholding federal benefits and retirement accounts
  • intercepting workers' compensation or unemployment benefits
  • seizing money from bank accounts
  • suspending the parent's driver's or other licenses, and
  • filing a court action to have the delinquent parent found in contempt of court, which could lead to fines or even jail time.

How to Change the Amount of Child Support

You may request a review of your existing child support order from the Idaho CSS if it's been at least three years since the order was issued or last reviewed, or if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

Several changes in a parent's circumstances may qualify for a modification, such as a new disability or an ongoing and involuntary loss of income. But judges may not consider a parent's new children (born or adopted after the order was issued) when deciding whether to modify the amount of child support. (Idaho Code § 32-706(5) (2024).)

You also have the option of filing a modification request directly with the court. But unless the Idaho CSS is handling the request in court (which will involve a fee for the legal services), you should consider speaking with a lawyer who can navigate the legal process for you.

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