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Child Support Amount

Stepmama2321's picture

I realize some of us are from the US, UK, and perhaps other areas around the world so it'll be different for everyone. I also know that the more/less you have visitation affects your child support amount.

Currently only have SD EOWe (so basically the least possible) and my SO pays 25% of his income to child support. Is this normal for others? 
In the future, when we have a home big enough to better accommodate everyone, I would love to do 50/50 custody (1 week on/off schedule) but right now this is the custody agreement. However, I feel 25% of your income seems steep! Am I wrong? Dont bash me but would love anyone else's opinion? 



tog redux's picture

In my state you pay 17% of your gross income for one kid - unless the combined income is high, then they calculate it differently. 

Stepmama2321's picture

Of gross income. I believe in our state, the amount of visitation affects the child support amount. So you're saying where you are, if you had 50/50, you'd still have to pay? That's crazy to me because everyone should be capable during their own time...

tog redux's picture

Yes, the higher earner pays full support with 50/50. Until age 21. It's idiotic.  25% seems high for one kid. 

Stepmama2321's picture

Specially when BM doesn't use it on SD. BM gets child support from 2 men for her 2 daughters, lives with current bf who she has a child with (she's a winner)! SD doesn't have much to show for the child support other than an iPad. She wears raggedy clothes, so we supply that, she can't play sports because BM is too lazy to get up early weekends to go to games because it interferes with her busy social life. Ugh!

CLove's picture

Yeah we have a Toxic Golden Uterus over here, too.

Its like "oh I need some more money, Ill just get pregnant again!"

For ours, she blatantly uses it on herself (trip to hawaii and needed spending cash).

Kiddo STILL sleeps on a bean bag at her apartment.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Is it 25% of gross or net income? That seems on the steeper side of CS.

DH has EOWE only on paper, but he has gotten half of summer and holidays in recent years. DH pays $1000 per month, even with OSS in college. He also pays cell phones, health insurance, car insurance for OSS, and college accounts. He also-also pays for all the boys' clothes, school supplies, school trips, etc. 

Stepmama2321's picture

Gross income. I felt it seemed steep as well but from what I can get from google, it's mainly because she's a low earner and he makes more than her. 
Omg, in college and still has to pay? Whatttttt?!! Or is this for other children as well? 

lieutenant_dad's picture

That's for YSS, but OSS is also not considered independent yet because he lives on campus and lives at home part of the year. It's really convoluted. DH's CS would have dropped when OSS went to college, but he got a promotion and the pay increase was enough to keep CS the same.

I understand the low earner bit. BM is a willful non-earner (read: chronically unemployed) despite being a tradesman. We pay a LOT over CS for the boys because BM won't. Literally won't. Like, has let the boys go without hats and gloves for two weeks in winter until she can ask DH for glove and hat money, won't. I've resigned that we just pay for them, otherwise they won't have anything.

Gimlet's picture

DH paid 20% of his net income (he was taxed on it, BM got it tax free) because he was a higher earner than she was and they used the state calculator.  He was 50/50.  He also carried insurance, paid 75% of medical costs, all activity costs, all clothes and shoes (because she just wouldn't) and gave her a lump sum settlement so he didn't have to pay alimony.

Stepmama2321's picture

Ouch that sounds like a lot. So my situation seems fair based on yours and others. He pays 25% of income, clothing and shoes, and would love to do sports but BM refuses.

Gimlet's picture

Fair is relative.  DH was/is a higher earner so he still had enough to live but he didn't have a lot of extra for a few years.  If your DH doesn't make that much, 25% is a heck of a lot harder.   And 25% of gross income is more than DH's 20% of net, which when I calcluated it was about 16.3% of his gross.  And it was for two kids, sorry I meant to say that.  What got him were the extras, but that's a tale for another day.

And, to be fair, he made the choice to let BM quit her career, stay at home for years, and then just work part time.

Picardy III's picture

Our state recently changed guidelines and is pretty fair. Child support is based on an actuarial table based on what the child's standard of living would be if the parents were still together with their current income. The math isn't entirely clear, but it is regressive: as one's income goes up, the percentage of income allocated to the child's needs decreases, even as the real amount goes up. CS ends at age 18 or high school graduation, with few exceptions. 

DH and BM have 50/50, and he's the higher earner, so he pays her the difference on the amount he owes her and the amount she owes him. The health insurance premium that he pays (that I pay, actually) is also deducted from what she receives. 
Even though DH makes about twice BM's income, it only calculates to him paying a few hundred a month in CS for three kids. School fees, medical bills, and agreed-upon activities are split in OFW with him paying a slightly higher percentage, and everything else is discretionary.

CastleJ's picture

We are on a long distance schedule, seeing SS 15% of the time. BM wanted to alienate and keep visitation to increase CS, which is why she moved away. DH makes $45,000 gross and pays 18% of his income to CS. He also has daycare and insurance billed into that. We pay half of all out of pocket medical, which can be frustrating because BM rushes SS to the ER for everything. BM makes $65,000 gross. It makes me sick that CS can basically put someone in poverty while the other parent lives high off the hog. 

tog redux's picture

Well, to be fair, an income of 73K including child support isn't really high off the hog. And she is paying for everything for him all year long, clothes, extracurriculars, etc.

ETA: I get your point though, that CS hits lower income fathers harder.


CastleJ's picture

And I understand that too, but BM is getting more $$ than that. Her partner makes $120k a year and pays for all of their household expenses: full mortgage, utilities, etc. Plus BM's parents give her a $3k allowance each month. They have done this since SS was born. I get the point that $73k isn't high off the hog for income when she has expenses, but she also doesn't have many expenses because others take care of her. BM used to brag to DH that she used CS for a new phone and stuff for BM. She said it was extra money to line her pockets. Its aggravating when it doesnt go to provide for the child. 

Its just hard seeing DH bust his butt to make $45k with so much of it going to CS. I am working but just graduated from grad school so I am still entry level. 

ndc's picture

What BM gets from her parents, or how much of her expenses are paid by her partner, is irrelevant (and should be).  Neither her parents nor her partner is obligated to support her child.  She and your husband are, so that's all that should be taken in account.  As a stepmom, I would be LIVID if my DH had to pay more or receive less CS because of my income or money my (or his) parents give us.  

Also, money is fungible, so try to think of the CS money as going to pay for the expenses of your husband's child, and the money from BM's parents and partner going to pay for her expenses and extras.

tog redux's picture

Agreed. BM getting other money doesn't change her DH's obligation to support his child.

We think of it as something to pay off, like a mortgage or a car payment- just think about it as debt and forget about it.  4 more to go for us!

Picardy III's picture

Completely agree in theory. Still, it's aggravating in situations such as: the parent receiving CS chooses to be underemployed as she's supported by her parents, thereby receiving higher CS in an income shares situation.

HowLongIsForever's picture

We're in an income shares state.  Meaning income a + income b = total income to spend on kids.  Yay!

The state assumes 17% of that total income is what is necessary.  

Support ends the month the child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later.

If incomes are equal but time sharing is not, the parent with less time pays the other.

If time sharing is equal but income is not, the higher earning parent pays the other.

There are some states that are a flat percentage of the noncustodial's income regardless of custodial income.

There's also a third method used in the US that I can't remember the name of at the moment, but its something like only 4 or 5 states that use it. 

The vast majority are income shares states, though, 40 some odd states use an income shares model.

SO has 50/50, covers health and life insurance, as well as a majority of extracurriculars (greater than the income percentage) and pays roughly $500/mo with an income split hovering 60/40.

*edit, for 2 kids

justmakingthebest's picture

It totally depends on where you are- in my state you can pay UP TO 50% of your income to CS. However there are calculators that are available and it is reduced based on overnights that they have.

Personally I think there should be very little if any CS if the schedule is 50/50.

strugglingSM's picture

In WA, there is an calculator based on the income of both parents. They look at the combined income of both parents and then figure out the percentage of the total each parent should cover, who the custodial parent is, subtract things like health insurance costs, and then set a CS amount. That said, lawyers can "adjust" those and if both parents agree to an amount that will be the set amount, even if it is outside the calculation. 

For us, DH (who makes far less than BM) is paying about 20% of his net income for two kids. This is because he agreed to a higher amount at the last mediation because he wanted something in return (something that BM has already said she won't keep to the agreement on). BM's lawyer practically jumped up with glee when he offered it, because he had already worked with BM to hide a lot of her income (long story and DH had a terrible lawyer). 

I thought that 25% of total income was the max that someone could pay in WA state. Do you have the worksheets from the original divorce decree? If you can afford a consultation, it might be worth talking to a lawyer to see if it would be worth it to try to lower the amount. 

SteppedOut's picture

I see all this and it's astonishing. 

My formerSO pays about 0.07% of his income, pays nothing to medical expenses, is supposed to carry medial/dental (he has other kids on a plan already so it would cost nothing extra) but he doesn't and nothing toward daycare. 

My oldest son's dad paid nearly nothing until he was 17.5yrs old. His child support was based on minimum wage since he "didn't have a job". Once my son turned 18, the next day literally, he got a job working has a union pipefitter. My son is 24 and his arrears balance outrageous still. Interest is not charged, so effectively I am forced to give him a $50k+ interest free loan for 15years. 

I guess I have gotten crappy CS workers... or they got lucky. 

ETA: Both chose to have zero custody time. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I have 50/50 custody of mine and when we divorced, my ex and i had similar incomes. No child support and we each claim one kid each year on taxes. We are supposed to split all costs equally, but it is on the one who accrues the expense (me) to collect. The only good thing i can say about it is that i have never depended on him, and when the kids turn 18 i don't have to worry about how i will support myself. I have friends who literally can't pay their mortgages when their kids age out, and one friend pretty much married another guy when hers aged out so she would have a roof over her head. 

My SO divorced his wife when she was not working and he made about 100k. He pays $1000 per month for two of them, for 50/50 on paper. Though, the kids are with him about 80% of the time. At the time of his divorce, he was also still paying about 2k per month to his first ex wife for his 2 girls, who lived with her in another state and visited him about 6 weeks per year. After one of the girls turned 18, she suddenly couldn't get along with mom and moved in with him (so cliche.) That daughter is now 20, really struggling, and staying with a grandmother because she then couldn't follow any rules at his house.

I am in the southern USA. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture


ndc's picture

DH has 50/50 and is not paying CS.  If he was EOWE, in our state he would pay 25% of his gross income for CS, as there are two SDs.  It would be 17% for one kid.  Even if you have 50/50 you could be expected to pay CS in our state.  The formula is a little more complicated than this, but essentially the higher earner would pay 25% of the difference between his/her income and the lower paid parent's income for 2 kids.  We buy everything the skids need at our house, and BM buys everything they need at her house.  They're on our state's CHIP program for insurance, and any extra medical/dental expenses, and activities, are split 50/50.

1dad4kids's picture

Canadian here. DH pays 10% of annual salary. I think it goes on a sliding scale depending on how much he earns. He currently has 27% access and joint custody. If he gets to 40% or more access then both BM and DH put their income in and owe each other. So the higher earner basically just pays the difference. Anything less than 40% means he pays the same amount 

CLove's picture

We are in California, with 50/50, which for tax purposes is 51/49.

When they got divorced, she agreed to no child support, as long as he worked on her car (free labor and ust pay for materials), did ALL transportation, plus pay all medical, while she provides the health insurance.

Not even 2 weeks after we got married, she filed for a "child support modification", whereby she wanted to up the (then) spousal support from $300 to $500, as well as requested $500 for 1 child.

She won $347 in child support as well as the rights to claim child on taxes, so 51/49. They based it off of parents income, visitation time and who provides the insurance.

This was 2 years ago. NOW, she hasnt worked in a few years, visitation is50/50, and DH is starting to ask her to do SOME trasnport (pre-COVID). DH hasnt wanted to take her back to court for any modifications. He thinks his CS would go up, because she isnt working. She stopped working because her job laid her off. Shes been "working" on a court case for an old head injury. So we have been told via SD14 that she "won" her case and got more money. 

SO, we dont take her back to court, because we dont know if she would win and we dont know if he would owe more and we dont know what her income is...

%25 seems high.

advice.only2's picture

Wow at 51/49 you only pay 347? When Meth Mouth was on her last ditch attempt at sponging DH for money she went and got welfare and state of CA came after DH for payment. Spawn was 17 1/2 half at the time, graduated high school, and living out on her own. CSS ran the numbers at a 51/49 split giving Meth Mouth the 51 and DH had to pay her almost 800.00 dollars for one month.

CLove's picture

Was working then...

Yes, its low, so hence we do not go back to court, and thats why we try not to "anger the beast" so she will keep us out of court.

WOW, that sucks. And here I was getting bummed at thinking about the whole amount that DH will have paid once Munchkin is 18 and graduated.

Gimlet's picture


Stepmama2321's picture

I guess I just find CS to be a little unfair. Sure go 50/50 on daycare, medical costs, clothing, extracurriculars but when you do all that PLUS pay 25% of your income to CS PLUS pay for everything while you have them seems like a lot. I know that 25% of my SO's income isn't going directly towards OUR child. Why does one child get to benefit greatly just because they were created first? 

tog redux's picture

Honestly - your best bet is to just make peace with it and treat it like debt he incurred by making a stupid mistake when he was younger.  The general belief is that kids should not have a lower standard of living because their parents divorced, and if you look up the statistics, it's the women whose standard of living goes down after divorce, not that of men.  It's popular on here to complain about the CS and men being screwed but really, most women don't make as much as men, so when they get divorced, they struggle more and the standard of living for them and the children goes down.  So CS is meant to make sure that children don't go from one standard of living to a much lower one.

In your case, maybe you need to find a better paying job to make up the difference.


Stepmama2321's picture

Her standard of living didn't go down. My SO and his exW didn't have anything when they split. No house, neither had great jobs. He since then has bettered himself by going to school and getting a better job, while she hasn't bettered herself. But yea, guess time to just make peace with it and move on from complaining about it. Just seems unfair and wondered others situations. 

tog redux's picture

Think about it this way - what if you two divorced right now.  He makes more than you, you said you make little. He would be ordered to pay support so that your child would not suddenly be supported by someone making less than half the income of what was coming into the house before. So they money would go to help you afford rent/utilities, food, etc, not just for the child's direct needs.

I get that's not what happened in your case, and honestly, 25% does sound like a lot to me, but there is a basis for child support, it's not really designed to just screw men. They could definitely stand to update how they calculate it, though.

Floral_SM's picture

I agree with this reasoning. You and I sound like the mature people that would use CS for its actual purpose. It's unfortunate that some mothers don't and take advantage and spend the CS on themselves instead. 
My DH sees it as a debt too and to just pay it to keep the peace in our lives. He had two kids early and didn't stay with the mother. There's nothing he can do to change the past. Just have to pay that debt really and keep the focus on making our lives happy. 

CLove's picture

was pretty open about using the Child support for herspending money on her Hawaiian vacay.

Floral_SM's picture

That's so infuriating! Nothing worse than her bragging in your face about it. We have to stay strong and united from their poison. 

CLove's picture

She texted DH "can I have MY support check early, because I need spending $$$ for my trip"

DH has not been on vacation, ever. Never been to Hawaii.

Just 3 years and 10 months to go...

shellpell's picture

Yes, it is unfair in most places. DH pays more CS for one SS than our two kids' needs combined (almost 1K). This is why he won't pay for most anything else for SS after CS is over because he feels he already "front-loaded" a lot of expenses through excessive CS. Plus, his relationship with SS is becoming increasingly superficial. I know some people disagree with this, but oh well. 

Floral_SM's picture

In Aus CS and the favouritism of mother's is just as frustrating. It goes by % of care, and how much each parent earns. Unfortunately BM goes by her tax returns to claim her income, and it's lower than my DH's wage and lower than her actual income. So even though it's 50/50 she gets the $$. Ontop of that, thanks to our mother loving government she gets money from our government being a single mum (free schooling and top up of money) and ontop of that again is a family tax benefit which is money handed to you by the government for having custody of taking care of your children. Thankfully DH gets a portion Family Tax too but this is based on % of your working income again, so he doesn't get a lot as he works full time. We see it as it helps cover his CS to the toxic BM but that's all fathers really get. No such thing as the single Father benefits in our system.

So basically if you have a vagina and pop out kids and stay single.. you could earn the same wage with kids, on government benefits and CS, than someone working full time without children. The system here is so screwed up.

CLove's picture

Why it is called "Golden Uterus Syndrom". When Bm's make a career out of figuring out how to make money and not work, using what comes out of there...

Floral_SM's picture

Yes! Not to mention the lump sum baby bonus mothers receive just giving birth to a baby. That alone is a couple of thousand right in your bank account. 

CLove's picture

Toxic Troll BM applied for section 8 housing (dee deep discounted rent in nice places) as well as $500 food stamps, claiming "single mother"...and she is getting some kind of disability...

thankfully spousal support ended in march.

Floral_SM's picture

Yep it's frustrating. My Toxic BM is getting rental assistance too and thanks to COVID, a lump sum of money to build a  home apparently now? Not sure if she's lying. We need to watch that space. Sigh, it annoys me so much how much she gets and the kids rock up to our house with holes in their clothes, and no jumpers for school. 

StrawberryPie's picture

Yeah that's a lot of money. My DH pays 25% too.  It's so much money. And it definitely does not all go to SS14.  I wish there was accountability on how to was spent.