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Characteristics of Shared-Placement Child Support Formulas Used in the Fifty States - page 22 / 54





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reduction calculation with a 1.5 multiplier; and the final column for the result as actually applied, before

and after the threshold, in Florida, in a case where both parents earn $30,000.

In Florida cases above the 40 percent threshold, the child support dollar amount resulting from

the mathematical reduction calculation, multiplied times 1.5, is quite a bit higher than in the same case in

Wyoming, and is comparable to that found in a 40 percent time-share case from California (see Appendix

B1). A significant cliff effect would still occur, however, when using the Florida guideline: a reduction in

child support of $278 ($397 – $119) per month would occur between 39 percent and 40 percent time-


Two states use other adjustments to the below-threshold offset formulas. Virginia uses a “1.4”

multiplier, rather than “1.5”. And in Michigan the various elements of the formula are squared, which has

roughly the same effect as using a “1.5” multiplier. As in other below-threshold formulas, the Michigan

formula does not include the threshold in its computation, and a cliff effect occurs at the point of the 35

percent threshold.

The rationale given by a number of states for the use of adjustments to the below-threshold offset

formula is the increased total costs for child-rearing in shared custody families. Examples of the rationale

given by various states are as follows:

Alaska: “. . . the total funds necessary to support children will be substantially greater when custody is shared. For example, each parent will have to provide housing for the children. Thus, the amount calculated . . . is increased by 50% to reflect these increased shared custody costs.” Civil Rule 90.3 Commentary, http://www.state.ak.us/courts/civ2.htm#90.3

Colorado: “Because shared physical care presumes that certain basic expenses for the children will be duplicated, an adjustment for shared physical care is made by multiplying the basic child support obligation by one and fifty one-hundredths (1.50).” Colorado Statutes 13.10.115, http://www.courts.state.co.us/chs/court/forms/domestic/childsupportguidelines.htm.

Wisconsin: “The 150% accounts for household maintenance expenditures duplicated by both parents, such as bedroom, clothes, and personal items.” Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development 40.04, http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/code/dwd/dwd040.pdf

These rationales for adjustments to the below-threshold offset formulas are somewhat confusing.

Most of the increased costs for shared placement families, such as duplicated housing costs, clothes and

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