Understanding the Four Models Involved in Calculating Child Support

Child support and a family paper dollsObtaining and filing for child support is a complicated process. It is essential, however, for divorced couples who wish to reach a fair and healthy family decision. Calculating the amount involved in child support is also complex as there are different formulas followed by each state. Here are four of them:

Income Shares Model

The Income Shares Model is one of the most commonly used formulas in calculating child support. It looks into the combined income of both parents and a number of children that the support order is for. This model believes that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income if his or her parents have not divorced. States such as New York, Ohio, and Michigan follow this formula.

Percentage of Income Model

Unlike the previous model, the Percentage of Income Model only looks into the noncustodial parent’s income as it assumes that a part of the custodial parent’s income will go to the child automatically. This model has two variations, which are the Flat Percentage Model (followed by Alaska, Arkansas, and Nevada) and the Varying Percentage Formula (followed by Arkansas, North Dakota, and Texas.)

Combination Models

Followed by Massachusetts and Washington D.C., this kind of model is a mix of the Income Shares Model and the Percentage of Income Model. Family law attorneys from Denver noted that the calculation for this depends on the state and the parents’ current financial situation.

Standard Child Support

The amount involved in a Standard Child Support model depends on the agreed cost of both parents. The court, however, has the right to adjust the amount depending on certain deviations.

Melson Formula

Developed by a family court judge from Delaware, the Melson Formula is a complex version of the Income Shares Model. It incorporates several policy judgments, which ensure that each parent’s basic needs — as well as the children’s — are met. Delaware, Hawaii, and Montana are the only states that follow this formula.

It is important to determine the child support model followed by your state as this will greatly affect your decision and financial income. Seek the advice of a legal professional when doing so.