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Child Support Cost

How Much Does Child Support Cost?

average costAverage Child Support Received: $280 a Monthhigh costAverage Based on Legal Award or Informal Agreement: $445 a Month
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In a divorce involving young children, a parent who does not have custody is expected to help pay for the daily living expenses of the children. If the parents cannot decide on a reasonable amount themselves, the court sets the amount to be paid based on the income of the parent or parents and the number of children involved.

Typical costs:

  • According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Census Bureau[1] , in 2007 the average child support payment due to a custodial parent based on a legal award or an informal agreement was $445 a month or $5,350 annually, while the median amount (meaning that half the payments were above this middle amount, half below) was $367 a month or $4,400; however, the average child support payment actually received was about $280 a month or $3,350 a year, while the median actual payment was about $184 a month or $2,200 a year.
  • Each family situation is different, and the amount of child support varies based on a number of factors, Parents can agree to any reasonable amount of child support in a written settlement agreement, but if the case goes to court each state has its own detailed child support guidelines that any judge in that state must use to calculate the child support awarded. These calculations may be based on the income of the person paying the support and the number of children, or based on the income of both parents and the number of children. The American Bar Association explains how state child support guidelines work[2] .
  • For example, New Jersey posts a parental expenses example and lists its eight steps for calculating child support. South Carolina[3] reports average child support payments of $224-$281 a month in 2009. Massachusetts provides a chart[4] of basic child support orders showing that a non-custodial parent grossing $500 a week ($26,000 annual salary) would pay $110 a week for one child or $144 for three children, while a non-custodial parent grossing $900 weekly ($47,000 annually) would pay $204 weekly for one child and $272 for three children. In Arizona[5] basic child support is based on both parents' income; for a couple with a combined adjusted gross income of $1,000 a week basic child support would be $231 for one child or $379 for three children, with the responsibility for providing that level of financial support divided between the parents based on custody arrangements.
  • Nolo Press Occidental provides links to the official guidelines[6] by state.
  • Many states provide either a worksheet or online calculator to estimate basic child support amounts. It's best to only use a worksheet or a child support calculator found on an official state website, as details on a private website may not be accurate or up to date. Online calculators are provided by Alaska[7] , Arizona[8] ,California[9] , Georgia[10] , Indiana[11] , Minnesota[12] , Montana[13] ,New Hampshire[14] , New York City[15] , North Dakota[16] , Oklahoma[17] , South Carolina[18] , Tennessee[19] , Travis County, TX[20] , Utah[21] , Vermont[22] , Virginia, and Washington DC[23] .
  • Worksheets are posted online by Colorado[24] , Connecticut[25] , Florida[26] , Georgia[27] , Hawaii[28] , Kansas[29] , Louisiana[30] , Kentucky[31] , Maine, Maryland[32] , Massachusetts[33] , Missouri[34] , Nebraska[35] , New Jersey[36] , New Mexico[37] , New York[38] , North Carolina and Ohio[39] .
Related articles: Child Support Attorney, Attorney Fees

What should be included:
  • To calculate court-awarded child support, "income" may include salary, disability benefits, business income, unemployment, Social Security income, spousal support or any other means of income. For example, New Jersey counts overtime pay and lottery winnings as income. Some states base their calculations on net income; other use gross income. The court may also need to know how much is spent on child care or heath care for the child or children. The American Bar Association explains what might be considered income[40] when calculating child support.
  • State guidelines typically allow a parent to argue that because of special circumstances, the court should order more or less child support than the guideline amount.
  • In some states, child support orders are automatically reviewed every few years to be sure the payments are consistent with current income and state support guidelines.
Additional costs:
  • Typical fees for hiring a private attorney to represent one parent in a child support case where both sides agree typically costs $2,000-$4,000; however, attorney fees for a complex, contested case that goes to trial can cost $4,000-$25,000 or more. For details, see How Much Does a Child Support Attorney Cost.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Child support for three children
Amount: $520.00
Posted by: Judy Wilson in Chattanooga, TN.Posted: November 10th, 2012 08:11PM
As the child becomes 18 yrs of age is the support (adjusted) reduced by one or do you have to pay the. $520.00 until the youngest child reaches 18. ? There are three children. Youngest being 12.
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