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Characteristics of Shared-Placement Child Support Formulas Used in the Fifty States - page 8 / 54

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To compare the child support orders resulting from the use of different formulas at various time-

share levels, we include in Appendices B1–B6 a series of tables showing monthly child support dollar

amounts for different parental income scenarios and for a range of the child’s time with the lesser-time

parent, from 0 to 50 percent time.8 Appendices B1–B6 report the child support orders resulting from

formulas used in eight states that are representative of the major variations of formulas.

Appendix B1 shows the results of various formulas in the case of equal-earning parents; in this

example, each parent earns $30,000.9 This intuitively easy example serves to point out problems with

some formulas. Appendices B2 and B3 present tables based on parental incomes that are consistent with

the average incomes of divorced parents, about $30,000 for mothers, and about $40,000 for fathers.10

Appendices B4, B5, and B6 are based on more extreme differences in income. We refer to these tables, as

appropriate, to indicate certain peculiarities in certain formulas. The Appendix B tables all use negative

dollar amounts to refer to situations where the formula would indicate that the lesser-time parent is to

receive child support from the greater-time parent. In all appendices, the dollar amount of the monthly

child support order is calculated for one child.

GRADUATED GUIDELINES

One method of reducing child support in recognition of the costs incurred in shared placement is

a “simple graduated” reduction, based on the level of time-share and the lesser-time parent’s income. This

guideline was more common in the past, but is currently used by only one state, Iowa,11 which uses a

8Incomes are given as annual amounts of gross incomes. Many states base their formulas on net incomes, and for these states we have estimated “net income” based on a set of standardized deductions.

9And presumes that neither parent was assuming disproportionate financial responsibility for variable costs such as educational or medical expenses.

10Based on mean annual 2003 incomes from Current Population Survey data on divorced fathers with children ($39,294), and divorced mothers with children ($29,606).

11In the cases of 50/50 time-share, Iowa invokes another formula that considers the income of both parents.

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