Child support costs vary across states

The child support payments of a Texas parent may vary dramatically from those paid by parents in neighboring states. In fact, Texas law still does not account for the mother's income in child support calculations. This is despite the fact that many fathers enjoy joint or sole custody and many mothers work outside the home and may be the primary income-earner. Parents who relocate might be concerned about how moving from state to state could affect their child support payments.

According to a study carried out by Custody X Change, an app designed to help parents deal with custody and support agreements, neighboring states sometimes have widely variant child support amounts. The app used the same data for family size, child age and parent income to calculate average support costs in all 50 states. They found that monthly support obligations could range from as low as $400 to as high as $1,187. While cost of living was a major factor in these calculations, it does not tell the whole story. For example, states like New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia have high costs of living but are in the lowest bracket for child support obligations nationwide.

In addition, some of the states with the highest support payments are not known for their high costs of living, such as North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Most of the New England states, with the exception of Vermont, are also clustered in the high end of the chart. Some states may use different elements in their support formulas, such as other children from additional relationships, insurance coverage and remarriage.

When parents decide to separate, it can be particularly important to set up a recognized legal agreement for child custody and support. A family law attorney can work with a parent to advocate for a fair child support order.

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