Does Every State Follow The Same Formula In Calculating Child Support?
No. Each state has their own child support law but each state tends to follow one of three basic models: Flat Percentage, Income Shares, and the Melson Formula.
a) Flat Percentage – The child support amount is based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children they are supporting.
The following states follow this rule: Alaska, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
b) Income Shares – The majority of states follow this model.
This model is based on the income of both parents and the number of children they have. The court first adds the net income (or in some states, the gross income) of both parents. Then the court consults a table which assesses the total obligation of support as a percentage of the parents’ combined incomes and the number of children. The court multiplies the combined incomes by the percent figure listed in the table and obtains a dollar amount that the children need for support. Then the responsibility to pay that support is divided between the parents in proportion to each parent’s income.
For example: if the court has determined that the children need $1000 a month and the parents make a combined $100,000 annually, in which the father makes $60,000 annually and the mother makes $40,000 annually, the father will be required to pay $600 a month and the mother $400 a month.
Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming follow this model.
c) Melson Formula – Only Delaware, Hawaii and Montana follow this model.
The child support payment is calculated based on a variety of factors (the “Melson Factors”), including both parents’ incomes and the needs of the child.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Child Support Articles
- Child Support Law
- Calculating Child Support
- Enforcing a Child Support Order
- Enforcing a Child Support Order Out of State
- How to Modify a Child Support Order
- Intercepting Tax Refunds When a Parent Fails to Pay Child Support
- Can Child Support Payments be Automatically deducted from a Parent's Paycheck?
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Don't Get to See My Children?
- Do I Need a Lawyer to Establish or Enforce a Child Support Order?
- Child Support FAQ
- What Is Child Support?
- What Is Child Support Used For?
- When Can A Child Support Order Be Changed Or Modified?
- How Long Must Child Support Be Paid?
- What Other Items Do Formulas Consider?
- My Husband And I Have Decided To Use Artificial Insemination To Have A Child. Will The Donor Be Obligated To Support The Child?
- Can The Parent Limit The Amount Of Future Child Support That Is To Be Paid To The Other (Custodial) Parent?
- Can One Parent Be Ordered To Pay Child Support Even If She Never Married The Other (Custodial) Parent?
- I'm Marrying A Man Who Has Children From A Previous Marriage. He Regularly Pays His Child Support. Since I Earn More Than My Fiance, Am I Held Responsible?
- If The Obligor Parent Doesn't Pay, Can Visitation Be Stopped?
- My Wife Has Threatened To File For Bankruptcy. What Effect Does Bankruptcy Have On Child Support?
- My Income Dropped Dramatically When I Was Laid Of My Job And Cannot Make My Child Support Payments. Is There Anyway I Can Lower My Child Support Payments?
- What Efforts Can Be Taken To Collect Child Support From The Parent Who Does Not Pay?
- What If The Obligee Does Not Spend Any Money On The Child?
- What Is The Parent Locater Service?
- What Other Collection Remedies Are Available?
- What Effect Does Bankruptcy Have On Child Support?
- What Is Child Support, And How Is Child Support Determined?
- What Factors Are Used To Calculate Child Support Payments? Can The Amount Of The Payment Change Over Time?
- Is A Father Who Never Married The Mother Still Required To Pay Child Support? What If The Father Is Not Allowed To See The Child?
- What Happens To A Father Who Refuses To Pay Court Ordered Child Support?
- Can A Child Support Order Be Changed Or Modified?
- My Ex Is Not Making Child Support Payments – What Can I Do?
- How Is Child Support Ordered And What Exactly Is It?
- When May Maintenance And Support Be Awarded By A Court?
- Can the amount of support payments be changed?