Most divorced parents understand how arbitrary child support can be. Even though there are certain guidelines, federal law allows each state to establish and enforce their own rules, and ultimately, judges make decisions with their own discretion. Because each state has its own expectations as to who should pay what and to whom, the average outcome of child support determinations vastly differ from state to state, a new study by Custody X Change confirms.
The statistics comprised in the study were gathered based on a range of hypothetical calculations. The average earning level of parents with children from infancy to teen years were taken into account, along with the fact that custodial mothers spend more time, energy, and resources on childcare than non-custodial fathers (65% to 35% respectively is the common timeshare). The results revealed that a parent can pay three times the amount another one who lives in a state hours away, despite being in similar financial and custodial circumstances. For example, parents in Virginia pay approximately $400 a month in child support, while parents in Massachusetts pay nearly $1,200.
Surprisingly, New Jersey ranks 47th in child support payments, even though it's one of the most expensive states to live in. Massachusetts is the first, and Nevada is the second. I know what you're thinking: the cost of living should be a considerable factor in child support payment verdicts. But every state doesn't always factor in this relevant element.
There are several reasons why some child support payments don't reflect the cost of living and/or income in some states. For one, all states still haven't acknowledged the uprising of the working woman. Women are earning more than they ever had, and some states - North Dakota, Texas, and Mississippi - still don't account for the mothers' income in their calculations. As a result, the father's child support payment can rise by hundreds of dollars.
Another reason is that some states are mindful about awarding payments that the non-custodial parent can't realistically afford to pay. High payments have compelled some parents to avoid child support or abandon their child altogether. Others have actually quit their jobs or became “self-employed” for the sake of avoiding high payments.
Numerous other variables come into play when determining child support, such as other children in outside relationships, remarriage, public assistance, and alimony. So, if you pay or receive child support payments and you're planning on relocating to another state, you might want to talk to an attorney first.
New Jersey Family Law Attorney
Child support is unpredictable. And as you can see, there are multiple factors that could influence how much you pay or get it. One of the most important things you can do to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome in a child support hearing is to obtain a seasoned family law attorney. If you would like to know more about your parental rights, schedule a consultation with the Lento Law Firm today by phone at 888-535-3686.