No married couple likes to go through a divorce. Not only is it messy, stressful, and heart breaking, but also expensive. Matters become more complicated when children are part of the equation, and the issue of child support comes into the picture. But how is child support determined? Here are several methods for determining child support in the event of a divorce:

Every state has their own law and regulations how child support is calculated. Most of these states, including California, Michigan, New York, and Ohio, use the income shares model. A handful of states, such as Texas and Alaska, uses the percentage of income model. As for the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, they use a hybrid between the income shares and percentage of income models. Meanwhile, Delaware, Hawaii, and Montana use the Melson formula.

Income Shares Model

In the income shares model, the court takes into account the total income of both parents in proportion to the number of their children. For example, a non-custodial parent with a $2,500 a month salary and a custodial parent with a monthly income of $2,000 will have a total monthly income of $4,500. Based on the economic table with the calculations of the expected cost of raising children, the total monthly child support obligation for a single child is $1,125. The share of the noncustodial parent is 55.6 percent, which is a total of $625.50 each month. If the couple has two children, the amount will be multiplied by two.

Percentage of Income Model

In the percentage of income model, the court takes a specific percentage from the gross or net income of the non-custodial parent in proportion to the total number of children the couple has. The sum involved can vary depending on the income of the noncustodial parent. However, there are some cases where the noncustodial parent contributes the same percentage regardless of the status of his income. The agreement of how much the noncustodial parent will pay for child support depends on how the couple views it. No matter what they have agreed on, either solution has its benefits and drawbacks.

Melson Formula

In the Melson formula, the calculation of the child support payment is based on different factors. Some of the variables that are taken into account in the Melson formula are the child’s needs and standard of living adjustment. The income of both parents can also be used as one of the factors in this formula.

Court Discretion

The different methods of calculating child support payment are not set in stone. They were put into effect to serve as a guideline. The court still has the power to make changes, depending on the situation at hand. After all, each situation is different from another, hence common sense is needed so the best possible outcome can be made for the benefit of the child and both parents.