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Child support payments show significant variation by state

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2019 | Family Law

A study by Custody X Change found that a typical child support payment in Hawaii was among the highest of all states, ranging from $881 to $1,187 monthly. However, if the parent moved to another state, such as Oregon, the payments might decrease significantly to $400-$528 monthly. A parent who crossed the border into Washington might once again be paying the same higher amounts as in Hawaii.

Custody X Change calculated the amounts by imagining a hypothetical couple with two children and a combined income of $100,000, which is generally higher than the average income for a family with two earners. Although this is higher than the average figure arrived at by census data and Pew Research, it still shows the wide disparity in child support payments. Payments can vary within states and jurisdictions as well. For example, different courts may reach different conclusions about how the time the child spends with each parent affects the amount.

On the other hand, some factors that could be expected to affect child support amounts, such as the cost of living, do not necessarily do so. Even though New Jersey has a high cost of living, it is near the bottom for child support payments. The lowest payments are in the Rocky Mountain states.

If a parent decides to relocate to another state after a divorce, a change in child support payments is not the only thing that must be considered. A court may need to approve the relocation and its effect on the custody and visitation schedule. Another change that may happen in child support after a divorce is a modification of the amount. A parent who loses a job or who cannot pay support for some other reason may be able to obtain a modification based on changed circumstances.

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