How Much Child Support Will You Pay?
Legal guidelines in each state help establish the amount of child support that must be paid to the parent who has primary physical custody of a child (the parent responsible for most aspects of the child's day-to-day care and welfare).
Specific child support guidelines vary from state to state, but they are all generally based on the parents' incomes, living expenses, and the needs of the children. Often, the guidelines calculate the amount of child support as a percentage of the paying parent's income that increases with the number of children being supported (more on determining parents' income below). In some instances, the amount can vary from the guidelines, if there are very good reasons. Judges will often review a financial statement completed by each parent that lists all sources and amounts of income and expense before reaching final figure for child support payments.
See an Example of Child Support Guidelines FindLaw Bookshelf
Learn more about the Child Support Guidelines in Your State
Child Support: Determining Parents' Income
One universal standard in state guidelines for setting child support is that the final support award is "income driven" -- determined primarily by the income of the parties. It is therefore vital that parents understand what funds can be considered "income" under the child support guidelines, and what funds are excluded from the definition of income.
Learn more about Determining Parents' Incomes for Child Support
State guidelines and income determinations are critical to setting child support amounts, but they are not the only considerations that factor into the decision. Other issues that might affect the amount of child support that will be paid include Joint Custody Situations, Payment of Support During Summer Vacation and College Expenses and Child Support FAQ.