New Study Proves Child Support Rates Are Very Inconsistent! (Pt 1)

A black and white picture of two adults holding hands, while a child holds both of their wrists, holding them together.
The point of child support is to ensure that the child’s needs are met. So the parent providing most of the child care is supported financially by the parent who provides less care.

Many things differ from state to state. And we’re not just talking about differences in weather from one place to another, or differences in the terrain and geography of the area. For example, the most well loved dish is Delaware is Scrapple, whereas in Hawaii it’s Poke. And while Colorado has the lowest obesity rate of any state, Idaho has the cheapest groceries overall and Iowa has the lowest divorce rate. But did you know, child support is apparently one more thing that varies widely from state to state!?

So who figured this out, and how did they do it?

The study was done by Custody X Change, which is a software used to develop custody agreements and help parents track custody and visitation schedules. They took hypothetical parents – a mother and a father – with two children, and gave them a pretty standardized parenting schedule (in which the mother receives 65% of the parenting time and the father receives 45%). The parents were awarded relatively standard incomes – $45,000 per year for mom and $55,000 per year for dad. Their data was plugged into the system in each state to see what the custody outcomes would be, and the results were very surprising!

So what were the results and why do they matter?

The national average for the father was $721 monthly. But when you look at the actual numbers from state to state, the range in payments was enormous! The lowest monthly payment was $402, while the highest was $1,187. It’s staggering, when you think of the implications – that child support isn’t standardized, but rather, seems almost randomly assigned. But surely there are factors influencing these numbers, right? Surely factors like cost of living impact how much child support that state awards? Right…? Nope.

Cost of living doesn’t seem to matter at all in the child support equation.

The study looked into the cost of living in each state, and compared it to the amount in monthly child support payments the software was calculating. As it turns out, cost of living doesn’t appear to have any bearing on child support. For example, for this hypothetical family the state of Massachusetts, which awarded the highest support payment for this family, has the seventh highest cost of living in the nation. And while Virginia has a very similar cost of living, they awarded the family the least support

Figuring out child support can be complicated in Michigan
Join us next time for a look at other factors that may or may not have influenced these numbers, and how this could impact parents in Michigan. Until then, if you’re considering a divorce and you want help figuring out your custody agreement and child support, we can help. The skilled family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm are available 24/7 at 866 766 5245 to help you with every aspect of your divorce process. You don’t have to worry, or try to handle this alone. We’ve got your back.