Alaska Child Support Services Division

Frequently Asked Questions about
Establishing & Calculating Child Support

Table of Contents

  1. I have recently separated and need help to support my children. I do not have a child support order or medical insurance. Can CSSD help me establish an order?
  2. I want to pay support, but don’t have a child support order. Can CSSD help me determine what I should pay?
  3. How does CSSD calculate child support?
  4. Are the earnings of both parents considered in setting support awards
  5. My ex-husband has remarried and has another family to support. How will this affect the support that my children are due?
  6. I can't get health insurance with my job but my ex-wife gets good benefits where she works. Can she be required to put the children on her insurance?
  7. How does the caseworker find out about the other parent's income or assets? I don't know much that will help.
  8. I'm sure the other parent is willing to pay support. Can we avoid going through CSSD?


1. I have recently separated and need help to support my children. I do not have a child support order or medical insurance. Can CSSD help me establish an order?

Yes. Please complete a CSSD application for services and provide as much information as possible about the noncustodial parent.


2. I want to pay support, but don’t have a child support order. Can CSSD help me determine what I should pay?

Yes, you may use the Child Support Calculator on our website to estimate child support. Click on the calculator on the left side of the page. If you want CSSD to calculate the support amount and begin collecting support, you may complete an application for services. The amount of your child support order will be based on your adjusted annual income and Alaska’s child support guidelines.


3. How does CSSD calculate child support?

Child Support is calculated according to Court Civil Rule 90.3. You may access Civil Rule 90.3 by clicking on the left side of CSSD's homepage. When someone has primary physical custody, the payments are based on what the noncustodial parent earns. Primary physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides at least 70% of the time. That court rule says that the noncustodial parent of one child should pay 20% of his or her adjusted income to support one child. Adjusted income means earning after deductions for taxes, union dues, retirement deductions and other mandatory deductions.

For example, if the noncustodial parent’s adjusted income is $1000 per month and that parent has one child, her monthly support obligation would be $200. If she has two children, the percentage of adjusted income for child support would increase to 27%. For three children the obligation percentage would increase to 33% and it would continue to increase by 3% per child thereafter.

The calculations differ when there is shared or divided custody. Shared custody means that a parent has physical custody at least thirty percent of the year, while divided custody involves multiple children and means that each parent has primary physical custody of at least one child of the relationship.


4. Are the earnings of both parents considered in setting support awards?

In some State guidelines, both parents' earnings are considered in setting the amount of the support order. In Alaska in situations where one parent has primary custody, child support is based upon the earnings of the noncustodial parent. If there is shared or divided custody, the child support is based on the income of both parties.


5. My ex-husband has remarried and has another family to support. How will this affect the support that my children are due?

Even though the noncustodial parent has a second family, this does not eliminate responsibility to the first family. There may be unusual circumstances that could lower your children's support. These include poor health or decreased earning ability of the noncustodial parent.


6. I can't get health insurance with my job but my ex-wife gets good benefits where she works. Can she be required to put the children on her insurance?

Yes. When CSSD or the Alaska Court establishes a child support order, they include a provision for medical support to be provided by either parent when employment - related or other group health insurance is available at a reasonable cost.

Federal law requires States to have laws to make medical support Services easier. For example, insurers can no longer refuse to enroll a child in a health care plan because the parents were not married or because the child does not live in the same household as the enrolled parent. The law also created a tool that child support agencies will be able to use to establish and enforce medical support when the noncustodial parent participates in a group health plan but does not enroll the child. This law provides that custodial parents can obtain information about coverage directly from an insurer, submit claims directly to the insurer, and be reimbursed directly by an insurer.


7. How does the caseworker find out about the other parent's income or assets? I don't know much that will help.

The first step is to ask the parent what the income is. The caseworker will make every possible effort to identify the parent's employment, property owned, and any other sources of income or assets. This information will be verified before the support order is final. Under certain situations, the IRS may provide financial information about the parent's earned and unearned income such as interest payments and unemployment compensation. CSSD has access to financial institution data, such as bank accounts, and credit bureau data, which may provide information about employers or assets.


8. I'm sure the other parent is willing to pay support. Can we avoid going through CSSD?

Yes, if you have an agreement that is approved by the court. If parents can cooperate and agree, all the better. You can get help from a lawyer, mediator or family counselor. The court's sole interest in your agreement is to see that it is fair to all parties, that the welfare of the children is protected, and that the agreement conforms with Alaska’s child support guidelines.