How child support payments vary between states

Georgia parents may pay more in child support than parents in comparable income brackets one state away in Florida, and parents in both states may pay more than those in Tennessee. The company Custody X Change used hypothetical divorced parents of two children with an income of $55,000 for the noncustodial parent and $45,000 for the custodial parent to arrive at what it called "typical" child support amounts for each state.

The typical payment in Georgia ranged from $735 to $880 according to their calculations while in Florida it was $530 $730. In Tennessee, one of the states that had the lowest child support payments, the range was $400 to $528. The study identified four ranges of child support payments with the highest being $881 to $1,187. The payments did not appear to be tied to cost of living since New Jersey, a state with a high cost of living, was in 47th place with one of the lowest typical child support payments. This could mean a substantial change in child support payments for a parent moving to another state.

After calculating child support based on a state's formula, a judge may make adjustments based on various factors, including how much time the child lives with each parent. The cost of health insurance and other criteria may also raise or lower the amount.

In child custody negotiations, parents may agree to share physical or legal custody. Legal custody generally does not affect child support since it is about which parent has the right to make decisions about the child's life. Shared physical custody means the child spends equal time with both parents, but a parent who earns significantly more might still be required to pay child support to the other parent. An attorney may help a divorcing parent prepare for the various possibilities for custody and support.

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