German Law/Child Support calculations You can also deduct
I am trying to understand the Dusseldorfer Tabelle and how it calculates child support and what deductions it allows.
I work and live in the U.S.A. I have a child whom I pay support for here and I am now facing paying support for a child in Germany.
How would I calculate what deductions I would be allowed to take and how it would determine the child.
For example would I be able to do the following?
Net income, -current child support, -rent/mortgage, -utilities, -car payment, -car insurance, -gas for work & visitation to my current child and -visitation for the child in Germany?
Wow, that's a tricky one. A lot of the answers depend on the specific circumstances of your case. I'll run through your questions briefly, but much more could be said about any of the points and about the "Düsseldorfer Tabelle" in general.
1. net income
Exactly. Always use the next income. You can deduct taxes and social security contributions. If you are working and you have work-related expenses (like working clothes or transportation expenses), you can deduct another 5% of your net income, but not more than 150 EUR per month.
2. current child support
You cannot deduct this per se because that would mean that payments to your prior children would have priority over the new child, but all children need to be treated equally. That means that at the end of the calculation of your disposable income, your other children will be considered. Of course this is extra tricky in your case because your first child does not fall under the "Düsseldorfer Tabelle" as he/she lives in the US.
3. rent/living expenses/insurance
You are allowed to keep 1,000 EUR of your net income. This is for your living expenses, so they cannot be deducted again. This amount includes 360 EUR for rent including utilities. If you pay more, you may be able to raise this amount, but you would have to show that you can't get anything cheaper.
4. mortgage/car payments
Loan and mortgage payments can be deducted if you pay them regularly and if they are deemed reasonable. For a car loan that means for example that a normal car is OK, but a Jaguar or a Porsche wouldn't be. If you can increase your monthly payments, it sometimes makes sense to do so because you'll save interest in the long term and you'll decrease your child support obligation.
With mortgage payments, you have to consider that 360 EUR are already included in the 1,000 EUR mentioned before.
You can deduct visitation expenses for the child in Germany from your income (before the child support amount will be calculated). Again, there will be a reasonableness test, meaning that you'll have to fly economy instead of first class.
As to visitation expenses for your first child, I am honestly not aware of any court decisions about that (I would need to do a bit more research, but I am quite busy at the moment. Sorry.). I would think you could make an argument that it should be factored in just like the child support to your first child is, again based on the argument that both children need to be treated equally.
I offer a service of doing a child support calculation with a step-by-step explanation, referencing the relevant sections of the "Düsseldorfer Tabelle" which has proven to be quite useful as a basis for negotiations between parents. I charge a flat fee of 150 EUR for this consultation + calculation.