Child Support Laws By State
In the US laws, almost all family related subjects run at a state level. Therefore every state can have different rules and executions about them. This situation causes differences in Child Support Laws by states as well. While most states stick with the generally accepted fundamentals, many states show drastic changes. Consequently, knowing which rules apply to your state is quite tricky. To help you in this important topic, we are going to summarize the Child Support Laws by States in this article. You will find the information you need down below;
The differences in Child Support Laws by states can occur in many aspects of the laws. For example, in some cases, the non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay for education costs even after the child is older than 18 because of the differences in the child support laws by state. Similarly, the rules that determine the amount of child support payments vary so much that it is confusing even for the people in the field.
Child Support Amount Due Models
The method which is used to determine the base child support amount due is one of the aspects that change the most between states. So, it is best to mention the most common methods before talking about Child Support Laws by states individually.
Although in some places like The District of Columbia, hybrid models are used. Most states use one of the three most common models;
The Income Shares Model
The Income Shares Model is a method to determine the base child support amount due by considering every child should have the financial support as they would have with parents who live in the same house. Normally, married parents without a divorce would gather their incomes together and spend this money for the house and providing the child with all the needs of a child. The Income Shares Model takes this shared total income as the base to determine Child Support Payments.
This model is actually the most accepted method to determine the base payments for Child Support Laws by states. 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 too.
The Percentage of Income Model
The Percentage of Income Model is a method where the child support money consists entirely of a percentage from the income of the parent that is not holding the child’s custody. So, in this model, the custodial parent does not pay anything since they already live with the child and can give their support when it is necessary.
You may see this method in two different forms; the Flat Percentage Model and the Varying Percentage Model. (We explain the difference between these two variations on related articles. )
In the US, seven states in total use The Percentage of Income Model in Child Support Cases. While 4 of them, Wisconsin, Nevada, Mississippi, and Alaska, chose to use the flat percentage model, the other 3, Texas, North Dakota, and Arkansas use the varying percentage model.
The Melson Formula
This model is somewhat similar to the first model above. You can consider This model as an alternative version of the Income Shares Model.
The Melson Formula takes the needs of both parents into consideration besides the child’s needs while the child support payments are being determined.
Initially created by a Delaware Family Court judge, The Melson Formula is actively being used in three states in the US right now. These states are Delaware, Montana, and Hawaii.
Child Support Laws by State
As we said above, Child Support Laws by states in the US can show many changes. Because every state can adopt a different set of rules when it comes to family laws and child support. Although it is difficult to mention all the details in every single state, we tried to summarize the Child Support Laws by state. You can find your state down below to learn about the applications.
All the states we mentioned below are listed alphabetically by in reverse order for convenience since this way fits searches better. You can find your state by scrolling down or using your browser’s in-page-finding function. You may also find more detailed articles for your state on our website if you navigate through our menus and other links on the page.
Wisconsin Child Support Laws
In Wyoming, the Child Support Laws are made based on the Income Shares model. The state decides the amounts for child support by considering the incomes of both parents. The Court aims to make sure parents can provide the child with the same financial support as a married couple would.
Wisconsin Child Support Laws
Wisconsin is one of the few states in the US that determines the child support payments by calculating a certain percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. The details in child support orders in the state can vary depending on the case on the hand.
West Virginia Child Support Laws
Child support guidelines of the West Virginia state are made with the formula of the income shares model. The support payments are regulated based on the gross incomes of both parents. Typically, Child support payments stop when the child is 20 years old. However, the Court can decide to stretch this time for college tuition in certain circumstances.
Washington Child Support Laws
the State of Washington accepts the Income Shares model for the states child support cases. Generally, Child Support Laws in Washington are the same as most states’ in the US. The support payments are determined by the Washington courts with both parents’ incomes considered.
Virginia Child Support Laws
The state of Virginia adopts the Income Shares model to decide child support payments. These payments are made until the child’s 19th birthday typically. But if the child studies in high school, the child support continues until graduation.
Vermont Child Support Laws
In Vermont, the courts determine the state’s child support guidelines based on the Income Shares. By taking this model as a reference, child support payments in this state continue until the child in the case becomes 19. And if the child goes to high school but didn’t finish it until the age of 19, the child support continues until graduation.
Utah Child Support Laws
The state of Utah made its Child support guidelines by taking the income shares model as a reference. The support payments are decided by considering the non-custodial parent’s gross income. Support payments stop with the child reaching the age of 18. Alternatively, payments can extend until the child finishes high school if he or she goes to high school. Also in some cases that the parents divorced, the support can be ordered to end only when the child becomes 21.
Texas Child Support Laws
In Texas state, Child support guidelines are determined by statute. According to these guidelines, the amount of child support payments are decided by calculating a certain percentage of payor parent’s net income.
In the state, child support ends after the supported child becomes 18 or whenever they graduate the high school if they attend it. However, there are no particular guidelines for a college education.
Tennessee Child Support Laws
The child support payments in Tennessee are decided by using the Income Shares model. Normally, the payor parent pays these support payments until the supported child reaches the age of 18. But if the child attends high school, the payments extend until the child finishes high school.
South Carolina Child Support Laws
South Carolina adopts the Income Shares model for the state’s Child support guidelines. This model is the most commonly used Child support model in the US. Therefore, the South Carolina Child Support Laws are not quite different than most other states in the country.
Rhode Island Child Support Laws
Rhode Island formed the state’s Child support guidelines based on the Income Shares model, with one particular critical modification. In Rhode Island, in cases that the payor parent being unemployed or underpaid by their own choice, their potential income is used to determine the child support payments.
Pennsylvania Child Support Laws
Pennsylvania is yet another state that is based its Child Support guidelines on the Income Shares model. Although most aspects of the model hold as they are in the reference model, in Pennsylvania Child Support can extend even after the child is 18 if the child is disabled physically in some ways or has mental problems.
Oregon Child Support Laws
In the state of Oregon, the child support guidelines are designed using the Income Shares Model. According to these guidelines, the courts consider both parents’ incomes before deciding the child support payments. However, in Oregon, the incomes of the parents are taken as their gross incomes.
Oklahoma Child Support Laws
Based on the Income Shares model, The child support guidelines in Oklahoma changes only a few aspects from the model. Most notably, the payments of child support continue until the child becomes 18 but it can extend if the child goes to high school. This is typical for most of the states that use the same model. However, in Oklahoma, the support ends when the child reaches the age of 20 even they are still in high school.
Ohio Child Support Laws
Like many other states, Ohio too uses the Income Shares Model for Child support cases. If the child doesn’t go to high schools the child support payments stop when the child is 18. Otherwise, it continues until high school graduation. These child support payments are calculated on the net incomes of the parents.
North Dakota Child Support Laws
North Dakota uses a custom set of Child support guidelines. According to these guidelines, North Dakota courts order the non-custodial parent to pay a percentage of their income as child support.
North Carolina Child Support Laws
North Carolina is another state which bases its child support guidelines on the Income Shares Model. The courts in the state calculate the child support dues by considering the gross incomes of the parents.
New York Child Support Laws
In the state of New York, Child support guidelines are designed based on the Income Shares Model like many other states.
The payments during the child support periods are determined by calculating the parents’ net incomes instead of their gross incomes.
New Mexico Child Support Laws
Child support guidelines of New Mexico are made in light of the Income Shares Model. The payments under the child support orders of New Mexico courts are calculated on gross income.
New Jersey Child Support Laws
Child Support cases in New Jersey are executed according to the New Jersey Court Rules which includes the Child support guidelines of the state. The payments of child support in this state are calculated using the net income of the parents.
New Hampshire Child Support Laws
In New Hampshire, the statute determines the Child support amounts based on the net incomes of the parents. Other than this, the Child support guidelines are shaped according to the Income shares 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 takes a percentage of the parent’s gross income as child support payment. This percentage reduces gradually as the parent’s income increases.
Nebraska Child Support Laws
Nebraska established its Child support guidelines through court rules and the Rules of the Supreme Court together. The state adopts the Income Shares Model in Child support cases. The payments in child support are determined by using the parents’ net incomes.
Montana Child Support Laws
In Montana, the Montana Administrative Rules form the Child support guidelines of the state. The Montana Administrative Rules took the Melson Formula as the base while forming the states child support guidelines. And, The payments are determined by calculating the parents’ net income as well.
Missouri Child Support Laws
The state of Missouri, Child support guidelines take the Income Shares Model into use. All the payments in Child support cases are determined by the courts using the gross income of the parent according to the Income Shares Model.
Mississippi Child Support Laws
Mississippi uses the Flat Percentage of Income model for its Child support guidelines. And, the Court considers the net income of the parents while determining the payments.
Minnesota Child Support Laws
Minnesota is another state that uses the Varying Percentage of Income Model as the base of its Child Support guidelines. The Court of the state uses the net income of the parent during the calculations of the payments.
Michigan Child Support Laws
The Michigan Friend of the Court Bureau is the authority which decides the Child Support guidelines in the state of Michigan. The Bureau created the Child Support Manual of the state to cover all the child support cases in courts. This manual adopts many features the Income Shares Model and it tells the Court to determine the child support payments using both parents’ net income.
Massachusetts Child Support Laws
In Massachusetts, Child Support Guidelines are designed by the Massachusetts Court Rules and executed by the Supreme Judicial Court.
These guidelines include features from two separate child support models. The Court selected took aspects from both the Income Shares and the Percentage of Income Models in order to create the hybrid model the state uses today. In this model, Child support payments are determined by considering the gross income of the non-custodial parent. However, then the Court extracts a percentage of the custodial parent’s income from this amount before the final payment order. Also, in this state, child support payments continue until the child gets over the age of 21.
Maryland Child Support Laws
The state of Maryland utilizes the Income Shares Model for Child Support courts. The courts order the parents to pay amounts that are determined based on their gross income for Child Support.
Maine Child Support Laws
In Maine, the courts strictly use the Income Shares Model in Child Support cases. And, typically the amounts for Child Support payments are calculated by using the parents’ gross income.
Louisiana Child Support Laws
Child support guidelines in the state of Louisiana are, like many other states, also based on the Income Shares Model. There are not many differences from the base model. The payments are to be calculated using the gross income of both of the parents.
Kentucky Child Support Laws
Child support guidelines in Kentucky are formed taking the income shares model as the base. The courts of Kentucky, take the parents’ gross income into consideration while deciding the Child support payments. These payments usually cover the child’s education costs, post-majority education costs combined.
Kansas Child Support Laws
Kansas courts adopt the Income Shares model in Child Support cases. The Child Support payments in this state go on until the child in the case becomes 18. But these payment orders extend one more year if the child goes to high school.
Iowa Child Support Laws
In the state of Iowa, The Supreme Court of Iowa decides the aspects of the state’s Child support guidelines. These guidelines are based on The Income Shares model and the parents’ gross incomes are used in calculations.
Indiana Child Support Laws
In Indiana, the Indiana Rules of Court decides the details of Child support guidelines the courts will use in cases. The state generally sticks with the income shares model and the Court uses gross income in payment calculations. The child support in the state covers the full cost of the education costs of the child, including post-majority education.
Illinois Child Support Laws
In Illinois, the Court adopts Child support guidelines that are based on a flat percentage of income model. The state uses the net income of parents while calculating child support payments.
Idaho Child Support Laws
Idaho is another state that uses the Income Shares model in its Child support cases. However, in the state of Idaho, the child’s needs are considered more critical than the parents’ own needs while the Child Support payments are being determined. Which can be harsh for low-income parents, but it is useful to guarantee that children always will have the needed financial support.
Hawaii 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 considers the parent’s living costs and their house members’ needs during these calculations.
Georgia Child Support Laws
The Georgia state adopts the flat percentage of income model in its child support cases. The Court uses the parents’ gross income in the calculations together with a lot of additional life costs taken into consideration.
District of Columbia Child Support Laws
Florida. Child Support Guidelines are the Income Shares Model of support, figured on net income. Health insurance, childcare, and education expenses are added to the basic award. Support terminates at age 18, or 19 if the child will graduate from high school by that time.
District of Columbia Child Support Laws
As we mentioned at the beginning, the District of Columbia uses a hybrid model between the percentage of income and income shares models.
The Child Support payments in this model are being determined based on the gross incomes of the parents like some other states, but also the costs of parents’ lives too are taken into consideration which is missing in some other states. The child support in this model continues until the child is 21.
Delaware Child Support Laws
Delaware is one of the few states that adopt the Melson Formula. Also, the state uses both parents’ net income rather than the gross income like most to calculate the child support payments. However, the Court may decide to change some details in the child support guidelines in certain cases.
Connecticut Child Support Laws
Connecticut uses the Income Shared Model as the base of its Child Support guidelines. Child support payments in the state continue until the child reaches 18. However, in Connecticut, the Court takes the “net income” of both parents into consideration rather than gross income.
Colorado Child Support Laws
In Colorado, the Court takes both parents’ incomes into consideration while determining the Child Support orders. The state uses the Income Shares model as the base of its child support guidelines.
In Colorado, The child support payments end when the child is 18 unless the child goes to high school which extends the payments until the high school graduation. Also, there is no obligation for neither parents to pay the college education cost.
California Child Support Laws
California uses a bit more complex version of the Income Shares model that is called “Statewide Uniform Guidelines”. Unlike others, these guidelines cover the periods of time both parents hold custody of the child. This difference allows the Court to order the custodial parent to return the payments in cases of poor caretaking circumstances. These compensation order can be given in in cases that one parent prevents the other parent from visiting the child or doing their custodial tasks as well.
Arizona Child Support Laws
In Arizona, child support payments are determined by using the Income Shares Model with the gross income considered as the base for calculations.
The child support payments continue until the child is 18 in Arizona. But if the child goes to high school, the payments extend until the child finishes high school. The cost of higher educations like colleges is not included in child support in this state.
Alaska Child Support Laws
Child support payments in Alaska are being determined according to the Flat Percentage of Income model.
In this state, Child Support continues until the child is 18. This age extends to 19 if the child goes to a high school while living with the parent who holds the custody. It is also known that child support payments in Alaska may not include the costs of post-majority college tuition.
Alabama Child Support Laws
In Alabama, the authority that is responsible for administering the execution of the Child Support laws by state is the Department of Human Resources.
In Alabama, Child support orders are usually based on a certain set of rules that are referred to as the Alabama Child Support Guidelines which adopts the Income Shares Model. However, in some cases, the Court may decide differently from this guideline in the court order. Also, the Court can change some details after the initial order details up until the child is over the age of 18.
This article covers all the states in the US but only superficially. There are so many details and variations when it comes to Child Support Laws by States that it is certainly not practical to write everything in detail in a single article. The aim of this article is creating an index for every state. However, probably you will need more than you have found here. You can find more information by reading other articles about your state or child support laws on our website.