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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Bill would cap child support obligation at 40% of net income

Rep. Orlando Aponte Rosario

By The Star Staff

Child support payments will not be greater than 40% of the income of the parent required to make them if legislation introduced Monday by Popular Democratic Party Rep. Orlando Aponte Rosario goes into effect.

The bill would amend the Charter Law of the Child Support Services Administration (ASUME by its Spanish acronym), to establish that in no case will the fixed child support payment be greater than 40% of the noncustodial parent’s net income.

“This law recognizes the importance of legally obligated persons assuming the responsibility for their children and although the Mandatory Guidelines for calculating child support are supposed to be reviewed every four years, this has not happened since 2014,” Aponte Rosario said.

The ASUME Law states that the amount in child support payments made by the person obligated to pay child support must consider the total capital or assets of the obligor in addition to the ordinary net income. The law also takes into account the income of the parent who has custody of the child.

“Article 24 of the Mandatory Guidelines states that the noncustodial person is obligated to pay alimony, and may keep an income of $615 per month to meet basic needs,” Aponte Rosario said. “We all know that this amount is insufficient and that, when establishing that amount, officials do not take into consideration that the cost of living in Puerto Rico varies depending on the municipality or region in question. Imposing a specific amount as adequate so that the noncustodial father or mother can pay for his or her needs does not address the economic reality of the obligor.”

Despite the fact that the ASUME Charter law provides that the obligor father or mother will economically contribute to the support of the children to the extent that his or her resources allow, the child support amount established, in many cases, exceeds the economic resources of the obligor, even with the income reserve established by the Mandatory Guidelines, Aponte Rosario said.

“Given this reality, I consider it necessary to establish a percentage cap on the income that the noncustodial parent can save to satisfy his or her basic needs and temper the formula to the current reality,” he said. “This measure has the mission of opening this issue to public discussion through the legislative process, where all interested parties can express themselves.”

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