Child support is, except in cases of extremely high or extremely low income, awarded pursuant to a guideline. This is essentially a computer program that takes various inputs, including the actual earnings (or earning capacity) of each party, the amount of sharing, and takes certain taxes into consideration.
Once the information is inputted, the program will compute a child support number. This number is widely adopted by the courts.
In order to deviate from the guideline, the court must make specific findings that the guideline would be inappropriate. Therefore, in almost every case, the guideline determines the amount of child support.