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Study finds child support amounts differ widely between states

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2019 | Family Law

Louisiana parents may have higher child support payments than they would if they lived in the neighboring state of Mississippi. This was one of the findings of the company Custody X Change, which conducted a study to examine the wide disparities in child support payments between states.

The study identified four different tiers of child support payments, with Louisiana in the next-to-highest tier of typical payments at $735-$880 monthly. The lowest tier of typical payments had a range of $400-$528 and included such states as Oregon and Tennessee while the range in the highest tier was $881 to $1,187. The hypothetical parents in the study earned $100,000 between them, which is much higher than the average for two-income earners of $56,000. However, even if the amounts are not exact, the study still demonstrates the substantial variation in payments.

Cost of living did not appear to be a factor in setting child support payments. A judge may adjust amounts based on certain criteria, including how much time the child spends with each parent. In the Custody X Change study, the assumption was that the child was with the noncustodial parent 35% of the time. Responsibility for health insurance and how many children each parent is caring for could also be factors.

For some parents, reaching an agreement on child custody and visitation may be a struggle. A family law court makes a decision based on the best interests of the child, but parents might use this same standard in their negotiations without having to go into litigation. Litigation may be necessary if one parent is uncooperative or if a parent is concerned about a child’s safety with the other parent. An attorney might be able to advise a parent on how to proceed if this is the case.