Child Support Laws

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Child support laws are determined individually by each of the 50 states. They are subject, however, to federally mandated guidelines. The goal of these guidelines is consistency and equity of child support and child welfare.

What Do Child Support Laws Address?

The federal government mandated six criteria to be included in any determination of child support laws and application. These criteria include parent income, custody arrangement, health insurance expenses, child care expenses, income deductions, and other expenses. Other expenses might include, for example, either gifted or handicapped children, or children with a medical condition requiring special care.

For specific information on child support laws, the most reliable and certainly indisputable source is the state government itself. However, other legal resources do provide convenient synopses of child support laws by state. Such information, however, should not be considered definitive. It is usually supplied for the convenience of those seeking general information.

Virtually every state puts the best interests of the child, in so many words, in its preamble to child custody and child support laws. After that come the state's renditions of the federally mandated criteria. Several "for examples" follow. Pennsylvania sticks to the simple letter of the law, duplicating the six federal points with no additions. North Carolina includes standard of living of the child and homemaker contributions of each parent. Utah notes that the age of the parent can come into play. Louisiana cites disability and extraordinary community debt as factors. Minnesota states that marital misconduct cannot be considered. In sum, child support laws in each state reflect the priorities of the residents of that state.

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