States With The Best Child Support Laws

The area you live in the United States will always determine the size and amount of your child support payment; this is according to research from Custody X Change. A parent can shell out cash three times as much as one who lives in a state just six hours drive away, despite an otherwise similar situation. A parent from Virginia would be expected to pay $400 as child support while his Massachusetts counterpart in the same case would pay nearly $1,200, per state guidelines.

The study looks at a hypothetical sample from a family with two children, ages 7 and 10. The parenting time from the mother is around 65% (the most general timeshare awarded to a U.S. mother, according to previous research Her annual income is $45,000, while that of the father is $55,000 (based on a research study about typical parental incomes from Pew Research Center)

Researchers keyed in this data into each State’s child support formula to determine that the father’s payment could hover around $402 a month to $1,187 a month. On the national scale, he would pay an average of $721 monthly.

These figures present a lot of indications to the amount non-custodial parent should pay (the “guideline” amount). Still, judges have the initiative and jurisdiction to award different amounts based on the evidence available to him/her. In some cases, parents can even make a decision on how much support will be exchanged.

The research surprisingly discovered that child support rates don’t significantly correlate with a state’s standard of living.

Of the five most pricey states to live in — Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersey and Maryland — one these states (Hawaii) ranks among the ten highest child support calculations in the study, but two states (New Jersey and Maryland) rank among the lowest ten estimates.

Meanwhile, the State of Massachusetts, which awards the most significant child support payment for every family, has the seventh-highest standard of living in the United States. Virginia has a similar cost of living (12th highest in the U.S.), yet awards the least child support payment.

A lot of Political analysts still finds it hard to explain the variation logically in child support payment across many U.S. states. On an Average outlook, support payments for mothers in Republican and Democratic regions are just $13 apart ($702 and $715 a month, respectively).

Only four states don’t consider the mother’s income when determining their family’s child support:

  • Arkansas
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • Texas

The family’s child support payment in the states listed above is $100 higher than in the rest of the country. Whereas these states award the family a standard amount of $813 monthly, while the other 46 states award $713 on average.

Historically, child support payments are calculated by taking a certain percentage of money earned by the parent who spends little time with the child. As the number of working-class mothers is on the increase in recent decades, most states have embraced the formulas that factor in both parents’ incomes. Arkansas will be the latest State to make this move, by March.

If the mother’s annual earnings were to drop, the presumed awards in the four states mentioned earlier could be among the lowest rates in the country; which means that when other states support payments are increasing, theirs will be at a static position.


The Regions Under Rocky Mountain Awards The Least And Best Payment, While The Part Of New England Awards The Highest

The Rocky Mountain region allocates the mother the lowest child support: $556 a month, on average.

New England’s $928 a month is undoubtedly the highest when compared to other regions in the United States; its average payment is 67 percent higher than that of the Rocky Mountain region. Vermont is a New England outlier, with the 12th least payment rate in the nation ($519), but it’s not enough to knock New England out of the top spot.

For a full breakdown of calculations by region,

Diverse approaches to set guidelines on support payments may be the reason for the variation.

Each and every State has the jurisdiction to set their guidelines. A few states have worked with researchers and experts to measure the cost of raising a child there.

Other states went on the easy route of using existing research (which may be data from another state or at the national level), or they haven’t referred mainly to any evidence or investigation. The difference in approaches likely contributes to the disparity in payment awards across the country.

But going by the laws of the country, each State must convene a panel to review and evaluate its guidelines every four years.

Child Support Debate Continues To Evolve

Most states have successfully restructured their child support formulas in a significant manner as a lot has changed in respect to the average American families. The past guidelines once assumed mothers worked less than fathers, if at all. In addition, they were often based on the presumption that parents had, at one point, been married to each other.

Today, a lot of the debate on child support payment is centered on finding an amount that provides for the child without leaving the paying parent impoverished.