How do you choose a child support calculator from the bewildering assortment of “expert” software programs turned up by a Google search? The variety runs the gamut from simple to complex and from “free” to rather expensive.
Consider the following:
When was the software developed? Some calculators have “stood the test of time” and have been relied on for more than 25 years; others are relatively untested recent entries into the field.
Who created the software? Look for software developed by an attorney – specifically a family law attorney – with some significant experience in the field.
Not merely an “estimator” – You’ll want a comprehensive software program that actually creates the paperwork you need to take to court (court-fileable “exhibits”) – not just one that guesses at a child support number and displays it on your screen. Beware of “estimates” – they are usually available for free just to entice you into visiting the sponsoring attorney’s office.
Ease of use – Try a demo if one is available. If you want to change a number you’ve entered, do you have to start over from the beginning? If you do change a number, is the result displayed so you can see the impact of the change without having to re-enter additional numbers?
Official Guidelines – Are your state’s Official Child Support Guidelines incorporated in the software? Even better, can you display and search those Guidelines within the calculator if you want to double check the law?
Used by the Courts – Is the software used by the courts of your state? If the Judge will be checking your calculations, does he or she rely on the software you are considering?
Online Help – Does the software include easily available help for the user without making phone calls or relying on “technicians” in foreign countries?
Automatic updates – Is the software updated without additional cost whenever the child support rules are changed.
Satisfaction Guaranteed? While no calculator will guarantee that the child support number will be “comfortable” or “fair,” a reputable calculator will guarantee that the result meets the standards of your states’ Child Support Guidelines.
Blog of helpful Articles – Does the software program come with free access to helpful articles to explain updates and changes in the calculator and related Guidelines?
Start your search for a child support calculator with the ChildSupportTools Calculator – it meets all of these criteria, and has for more than 25 years. Click here for more information and a free trial.