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Characteristics of Shared-Placement Child Support Formulas Used in the Fifty States - page 5 / 54

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Court’s discretion: Maine, Nebraska None (or 1 percent): Arizona, California 14 percent (52 days/overnights): Indiana 20 percent (74 days/overnights): Louisiana, Oregon 25 percent (91–92 days/overnights): Colorado, Idaho, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin 28 percent (102 days/overnights): New Jersey 30 percent (109–110 days/overnights): Alaska, Delaware, Montana, South Carolina, Utah 33 percent (120–123 days/overnights): North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota 35 percent (127–128 days/overnights): Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, West

Virginia 40 percent (144–146 days/overnights): District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Pennsylvania,

Wyoming 45 percent (164 days/nights): North Dakota

Except for the special cases of California and Arizona, Indiana has the lowest threshold level, at

51 days or overnights per year (14 percent of time). A lesser-time parent with time-share above that

threshold would qualify for a reduction in child support. At the other end of the spectrum is North

Dakota, which does not offer a reduction in child support until a time-share level of 164 days or

overnights (45 percent of time) is reached. The modal percentages of time-share that define threshold

levels are 25 percent time (six states), and 30 percent time (six states).6

Cliff Effect. In many formulas, the mathematical mechanics produce one or more large decreases

in child support orders with only one day, or a 1 percentage-point, increase in time with the child. To

illustrate this we present Figure 1, which shows the decrease in child support order amounts that could

result from one type of formula, along the continuum of time-share from 0 to 50 percent time for the

lesser-time parent. On this figure a “cliff effect” occurs when the threshold of 39 percent time-share

increases by 1 percent (3 to 4 days), from 39 to 40 percent, and the child support order is reduced from

$415 per month to $83 per month.

Large reductions in child support that occur with small increases in time-share can lead to

parental conflict. As shown in this figure, if the greater-time parent can limit the amount of time with the

6Threshold levels are sometime referred to as “over 25 percent time”, or “25 percent and over.” “Over 25 percent time” would be a true 25 percent threshold; “25 percent or over” would actually be a 24 percent threshold. We group these two situations together, for simplicity’s sake, and refer to both as 25 percent thresholds.

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