Child Support Laws By State
In US law, nearly all family matters are handled at the state level. For this reason, each state may have different rules and practices about them. This situation also causes differences between states in Child Support Laws. While most states adhere to generally accepted basic principles, many states differ drastically. As a result, it’s pretty hard to know which rules apply to your state. To help you with this important issue, we will summarize Child Support Laws by State in this article. Below you will find the information you need;
Differences in Child Support Laws by state can arise in many areas of the law. For example, in some cases, due to differences in child support laws, the state may be ordered to pay the non-custodial parent’s education costs even if the child is over 18. Likewise, the rules governing the amount of child support payments are so variable that it is confusing even to people in the field.
Amount of Child Support Payable Models
The method used to determine the base child support amount payable is one of the things that varies the most between states. Therefore, before talking about Child Support Laws by individual states, it is best to talk about the most common methods. Although in some places, such as the District of Columbia, hybrid models are used. Most states use one of the three most common models;
Revenue Sharing Model
The Income Shares Model is a method of determining the base amount of Child Support to be paid, considering that every child must have financial support as with parents living in the same house. Normally married and un-divorced parents pool their income and spend this money on the house and meet all the needs of the child. The Income Shares Model relies on this shared total income to determine Child Support Payments.
This model is actually the most accepted method by states for determining base payments for Child Support Laws. In fact, 40 states in the US use this model in their child support cases. These states; are Louisiana, Oregon, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, California, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Arizona, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, New Jersey, West Virginia, Missouri, Rhode Island, Michigan, Iowa, Virginia, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas, New Mexico, Florida, Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, Alabama, and Washington. Also, the Virgin Islands and Guam use the same model.
Income Percentage Model in Child Support Laws by State
The Percentage Income Model is a method in which Child Support benefits consist entirely of a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent. So in this model, the custodian pays nothing as he lives with the child and can provide support when needed.
You can see this method in two different ways; the Flat Percentage Model and Varying Percentage Model. (We explain the difference between these two variations in related articles.)
A total of seven states in the US use the Percentage Income in Child Support Cases Model. Of these, 4, Wisconsin, Nevada, Mississippi, and Alaska, choose to use the fixed percentage model, while the other 3, Texas, North Dakota, and Arkansas, use the varying percentage model.
Melson Formula in Child Support Laws by State
This model is somewhat similar to the first model above. You can think of this model as an alternative version of the Revenue Shares Model. Melson Formula takes into account the needs of both parents as well as the needs of the child when determining child support payments. Originally created by a Delaware Family Court judge, Melson Formula is now actively used in three states in the USA. These states are Delaware, Montana, and Hawaii.
List for Child Support Laws by State
As we mentioned above, Child Support Laws in the USA can vary according to the state. Because each state may adopt a different set of rules when it comes to family law and child support. We have tried to summarize Child Support Laws on a state-by-state basis, although it is difficult to describe all the details in each state. You can find your status below to learn about the apps.
All of the cases we’ve mentioned below are listed in reverse alphabetical order for convenience as this way better fits searches. You can find your status by scrolling down or using your browser’s in-page find function. Also, if you scroll through our menus and other links on the page, you can find more detailed articles on your condition on our website.
Wisconsin Child Support Laws
Child support laws in Wyoming are based on the Revenue Sharing model. The state determines child support amounts based on the incomes of both parents. The court aims to ensure that the parents are able to provide the child with the same financial support as a married couple.
Wisconsin Child Support Laws
Wisconsin is one of the few states in the United States that determines child support payments by calculating a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. Details on child support decisions in the state can vary depending on the situation at hand.
West Virginia Child Support Laws
The West Virginia state child support guidelines are based on the income-sharing model formula. Support payments are based on the gross income of both parents. Typically, child support payments stop when the child turns 20. However, the Court may decide to extend this period for university studies in certain circumstances.
Washington Child Support Laws
Washington State adopts the Revenue Shares model for states’ child support cases. In general, Child Support Laws in Washington are the same as in most states in the USA. Support payments are determined by Washington courts, taking into account both parents’ incomes.
Virginia Child Support Laws
The state of Virginia adopts the Revenue Shares model to decide on child support payments. These payments are usually made by the child’s 19th birthday. However, if the child is in high school, Child Support continues until they graduate.
Vermont Child Support Laws
In Vermont, courts determine the state’s child support rules based on Revenue Shares. With reference to this model, Child Support payments in this situation continue until the child in the case reaches the age of 19, and until graduation if the child attends high school but did not finish by age 19.
Utah Child Support Laws
The state of Utah created its child support guidelines based on the income-sharing model. Support payments are determined based on the parent’s gross income. Support payments end when the child turns 18. Alternatively, if the child is attending high school, the payments can be extended until the child finishes high school. Also, in some cases where the parents are divorced, Child Support can only be terminated when the child turns 21.
Texas Child Support Laws
In the state of Texas, Child support guidelines are set by law. Under these guidelines, the amount of child support payments is determined by calculating a certain percentage of the paying parent’s net income.
In the state, child support ends when the supported child turns 18 or graduates high school if they are still attending high school. However, there are no specific guidelines for university education.
Tennessee Child Support Laws
Child support payments in Tennessee are decided using the Revenue Shares model. Normally, the paying parent pays these child support payments until the supported child turns 18. However, if the child is attending high school, the payments are extended until the child finishes high school.
South Carolina Child Support Laws
South Carolina adopts the Revenue Shares model for the state’s Child support guidelines. This model is the most widely used child support model in the USA. As such, South Carolina’s Child Support Laws are not quite different from most other states in the country.
Rhode Island Child Support Laws
With one critical change, Rhode Island created the state’s Child support guidelines based on the Revenue Shares model. In Rhode Island, if the paying parent is self-selected unemployed, or underpaid, their potential income is used to determine child support payments.
Pennsylvania Child Support Laws
Pennsylvania is another state that bases its Child Support guidelines on the Revenue Shares model. While most aspects of the model remain the same as in the reference model, in Pennsylvania, child support can be extended even after the child is 18 years old if the child is physically disabled in some way or has mental problems.
Oregon Child Support Laws
In the state of Oregon, child support guidelines are designed using the Revenue Sharing Model. Under these guidelines, courts consider both parents’ incomes before deciding on child support payments. However, in Oregon, parents’ income is taken as their gross income.
Oklahoma Child Support Laws
Based on the Revenue Shares model, the child support guidelines in Oklahoma only change a few aspects of the model. Most importantly, Child Support payments continue until the child turns 18, but can be extended if the child goes to high school. This is typical for most states using the same model. In Oklahoma, however, support ends when the child turns 20, although he is still in high school.
Ohio Child Support Laws
Like many other states, Ohio uses the Revenue Sharing Model for child support cases. If the child does not attend high school, the child support payment stops when the child turns 18. Otherwise, it continues until high school graduation. These child support payments are calculated on the parent’s net income.
North Dakota Child Support Laws
North Dakota uses a specific set of Child support guidelines. Under these guidelines, North Dakota courts order the custodial parent to pay a percentage of their income in child support.
North Carolina Child Support Laws
North Carolina is another state that bases its child support guidelines on the Revenue Sharing Model. State courts calculate the child support allowance based on the parent’s gross income.
New York Child Support Laws
In the state of New York, Child support guidelines, like many other states, are designed according to the Revenue Sharing Model.
Child support payments are determined by calculating the parents’ net income rather than their gross income.
New Mexico Child Support Laws
New Mexico’s child support guidelines are made in light of the Income Sharing Model. Payments under New Mexico court child support orders are calculated on gross income.
New Jersey Child Support Laws
Child support cases in New Jersey are handled according to the New Jersey Court Rules, which include the state’s Child support guidelines. In this case, child support payments are calculated using the parents’ net income.
New Hampshire Child Support Laws
In New Hampshire, the statute determines child support amounts based on the parent’s net income. Apart from that, Child Support guides are shaped according to the Income Sharing model.
Nevada Child Support Laws
Nevada is one of the few states in the US that uses the varying percentage of income model. This version of the model receives a percentage of the parent’s gross income as the child support payment. This percentage gradually decreases as the parent’s income increases.
Nebraska Child Support Laws
Nebraska has established its Child support guidelines through court rules and Supreme Court Rules. The state adopts the Revenue Sharing Model in Child Support cases. Child support payments are determined using the parents’ net income.
Montana Child Support Laws
In Montana, the Montana Administrative Rules establish the state’s Child support guidelines. The Montana Administrative Code relied on the Melson Formula to establish state child support guidelines. In addition, the payments are determined by calculating the net income of the parents.
Missouri Child Support Laws
The state of Missouri Child support guidelines introduces the Revenue Sharing Model. In child support cases, all payments are determined by the courts using the parent’s gross income according to the Income Shares Model.
Mississippi Child Support Laws
Mississippi uses the Percent Fixed Income model for its Child support guidelines. The court also considers the parents’ net income when determining the payments.
Minnesota Child Support Laws
Minnesota is another state that uses the Changing Percentage Income Model as the basis for its Child Support guidelines. The State Court uses the parent’s net income in calculating payments.
Michigan Child Support Laws
The Michigan Court Fellows Office is the governing authority on Child Support guidelines in the state of Michigan. The Bureau created the state’s Child Support Handbook to cover all child support cases in the courts. This guide adopts many of the features of the Income Sharing Model and tells the Court to determine child support payments using the net income of both parents.
Massachusetts Child Support Laws
In Massachusetts, Child Support Guidelines are devised by the Massachusetts Court Rules and enforced by the Supreme Court.
These guidelines contain features of two separate child support models. The Elected Court took directions from both the Revenue Shares and Percentage of Revenue Models to create the hybrid model the government uses today. In this model, child support payments are determined by taking into account the gross income of the non-custodial parent. However, the Court then takes a percentage of the custodial parent’s income from this amount before the final payment order. In addition, in this case, Child Support payments continue until the child turns 21.
Maryland Child Support Laws
The state of Maryland uses the Revenue Sharing Model for child support courts. Courts order parents to pay amounts determined by their gross income for child support.
Maternal Child Support Laws
In Maine, courts strictly use the Revenue Sharing Model in child support cases. And usually, the amounts of child support payments are calculated using the gross income of the parents.
Louisiana Child Support Laws
Child support guidelines in the state of Louisiana, like many other states, are based on the Revenue Sharing Model. It is not much different from the base model. Payments will be calculated using both parents’ gross income.
Kentucky Child Support Laws
Child support guidelines in Kentucky are based on the income-sharing model. Kentucky courts consider parents’ gross income when deciding on child support payments. These payments usually cover the cost of the child’s education, post-majority education.
Kansas Child Support Laws
Kansas courts adopt the Revenue Sharing model in child support cases. In this case, Child Support payments continue until the child in the case reaches the age of 18. However, these payment orders are extended for another year if the child goes to high school.
Iowa Child Support Laws
In the state of Iowa, the Iowa Supreme Court decides on some aspects of the state’s Child support guidelines. These guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model and the parent’s gross income is used in the calculations.
Indiana Child Support Laws
In Indiana, the Indiana Court Rules determine the details of the Child support guidelines that courts will use in cases. The State generally adheres to the revenue share model and the Court uses gross revenue in its payment calculations. Child support in the state covers the full cost of the child’s education, including post-majority education.
Illinois Child Support Laws
In Illinois, the Court adopts Child support guidelines based on a fixed income percentage model. The state uses the parents’ net income when calculating child support payments.
Idaho Child Support Laws
Idaho is another state that uses the Revenue Shares model in child support cases. However, in the state of Idaho, the child’s needs are considered more critical than the parents’ own needs when determining child support payments. This can be difficult for low-income parents, but it is helpful to ensure that children will always have the financial support they need.
Hawaiian Child Support Laws
Hawaii is another state that uses the Melson Formula to determine child support orders. The court calculates the payments based on the parent’s net income. However, the Court also takes into account the parent’s living expenses and the needs of the household members in these calculations.
Georgia Child Support Laws
The state of Georgia adopts the fixed income percentage model in child support cases. The court uses the gross income of the parents in the calculations, taking into account the many additional costs of living.
District of Columbia Child Support Laws
Florida. The Child Support Guidelines are the Income Share Support Model calculated on net income. Health insurance, childcare, and education expenses are added to the basic reward. Support ends at age 18 or 19 if the child will graduate high school by then.
District of Columbia Child Support Laws
As we mentioned at the beginning, the District of Columbia uses a hybrid model between income percentage and income sharing models.
In this model, child support payments are determined according to the gross income of the parents, as in some states, but in some states, the living costs of the missing parents are also taken into account. In this model, Child Support continues until the child turns 21.
Delaware Child Support Laws
Delaware is one of the few states to adopt the Melson Formula. Also, the state uses both parents’ net income to calculate child support payments, rather than gross income like most. However, in some cases, the Court may decide to change some details in the child support guidelines.
Connecticut Child Support Laws
Connecticut uses the Revenue Sharing Model as the basis for its child support guidelines. Child support payments continue until the child turns 18. However, in Connecticut, the Court considers both parents’ “net income” rather than gross income.
Colorado Child Support Laws
In Colorado, the Court considers both parents’ incomes when making child support decisions. The state uses the Revenue Shares model as the basis for its child support guidelines. In Colorado, child support payments end when the child turns 18 unless the child attends high school, which extends payments until high school graduation. Also, neither parent is required to pay for college tuition costs.
California Child Support Laws
California uses a slightly more complex version of the Revenue Shares model called the “State-Wide Uniform Guidelines.” Unlike others, these guidelines cover the length of time both parents retain custody of the child. This difference allows the Court to order the custodial parent to return payments if the conditions of care are poor. This compensation decision can be made if a parent prevents the other parent from visiting the child or performing custody duties as well.
Arizona Child Support Laws
In Arizona, child support payments are determined using the Income Share Model, with gross income considered the basis for calculations.
Child support payments continue until the child turns 18 in Arizona. But if the child goes to high school, the payments are extended until the child finishes high school. The cost of higher education, such as college, is not included in child support in this state.
Alaska Child Support Laws
In Alaska, child support payments are determined on the Fixed Percent Income model. In this case, child support continues until the child turns 18. If the child attends high school while living with the custodial parent, this age is extended to 19 years. It is also known that Child Support payments in Alaska may not include post-majority college tuition fees.
Alabama Child Support Laws
In Alabama, the department responsible for the enforcement of Child Support laws is the Human Resources Department.
In Alabama, child support orders are usually based on a specific set of rules called the Alabama Child Support Guidelines, which adopt the Revenue Sharing Model. However, in some cases, the Court may decide differently from this guideline in the court decision. In addition, the Court may change some details until the child turns 18 after the initial decision details.
More Info About Child Support Laws by State
This article covers all states in the USA, but only superficially. There is so much detail and variation when it comes to the state Child Support Laws that it is absolutely impractical to write everything in detail in one article. The purpose of this article is to create an index for each situation. However, you will likely need more than what you find here. You can find more information by reading other articles about your state or child support laws on our website.