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How is Child Support Calculated? Research Your State!

How is Child Support Calculated? Research Your State!

How is Child Support Calculated? Learn more about how income, expenses and mandatory deductions are used to evaluate child support payments.


We have found 2 great resources that focus on providing helpful information all in one place covering how child support is calculated. Learn more about how child support is calculated and use the Child Support Calculator as described below to get an estimation! 

*Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and the information included here was found on the internet. As a reminder, be sure to check with your state regulations and guidelines for the most up to date information in your area. Have you wondered how is child support calculated?

How Child Support is Calculated

The FindLaw web page describes how custody arrangements can impact child support obligations depending on whether one parent has sole custody or both. Simply put, when one parent has sole custody then the other parent should pay child support. However, joint custody can base child support on obligations on earnings and percentage of time spent with the child for each parent. 

Support is calculated at a state level, but there are still some federal guidelines involved under the Child Support Enforcement Act. There are also a few evaluation factors that are followed by each state, including:

  • Financial needs which includes a number of things like: education, day care, insurance and any other special needs.
  • Parental income and as well as their needs with having custody of the child.
  • Parental gross income as well as their ability to pay the parent with custody child support as required.
  • The standard of living for the child before the parents’ separation or divorce.

Courts will typically take into consideration the parent’s gross income and subtract any mandatory deductions, for example Social Security and income taxes. This is then used to create a net income amount that is used to establish the individual’s ability to pay child support.

It is also explained that child support pay is evaluated on what you could earn versus what you actually earn. This avoids any problems with the parent who pays child support in taking a lesser paying job in order to avoid paying their child support dues.

There is also such a thing as a cost of living adjustment clauses (COLA) that reflects the increase for the cost of living over a period of time. This may involve future court visits as financial information will need to be updated accordingly.

It is always recommended to contact a lawyer regarding further information on child support calculations, as well as other matters involving the child.

How to Calculate It Yourself

Use this Child Support Calculator to estimate the child support payments that you will either receive or pay based on your state’s guidelines. Simply choose your state using the interactive map on the site, or select your state using the drop down bar. However, please remember that this is a tool that should be used for informational and educational purposes only, as updates can occur at any time.

Each state may estimate different amounts for child support. The estimation is used based on the assumption that the child(s) will reside with only one parent. This means that it is not an option available to joint physical custody or split custody arrangements. 

The Support Pay webpage reminds its visitors that the calculator does not include any types of adjustments for non-court ordered child support, only those living with one parent. 


Be sure to check with your state’s guidelines directly as well! 

Find More Info on Legal Aid Here!