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How much do you pay in CS?

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

You don't have to share specific $$ amounts, just curious what everyone contributes in CS (whether that's money, insurance, after school care fees/private schooling, etc). And what your schedule is - (EOWE, Full Time, etc)

Also, if you're comfortable sharing where you're located (ie Pac North US, Canada, UK, etc)

Aniki's picture

Step parents should not contribute one penny to the support of skids. Anything they DO contribute should be voluntary.

When my DH was paying CS, it was $1500 a month for 2 skids AND he had to carry them on his insurance. He was living paycheck-to-paycheck because of that.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Our finances are combined-- but I can see how this would be beneficial if they were separate! 

RisingtheWave80's picture

I think they mean if you have your own income, that is not calculated in the CS amount. Rarely would a spouse be included unless they come with wealth and assets that the court determines the parent can afford additional support.

ESMOD's picture

Even if your finances are combined.. that doesn't mean that any of your resources would go to paying CS.  Your SO should be making enough to cover his "share" of joint finance obligations. plus CS.  If you both choose to pool your money over those obligations.. that's your choice... but it is often difficult when there can be uneven expectations for spending with non-bio kids involved.

Petronella's picture

Your SO should be making enough to cover his "share" of joint finance obligations. plus CS.

Exactly this!

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Interesting question.

A good one would be, what would be fair? I teach math, I like questions like this. 

Assuming the mother and father are both single with one child, and mortagages are fairly similar.

(Bills = (Mortgage or rent + 1/2groceries + mutually approved expenses) / 365) x (number of days in possession of child))

Total child support determined by (Bills(custodial) / 2) - (Bills(NCP) / 2).

That seems like it'd be fair. Lol.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Take half of the each parent's mortgage, 1/4th of their groceries, and 1/2 of their  agreed upon expenses in a given year. Whoever pays less, makes up the difference.

If they have similar mortgages.

Doing that would pay for the necessities, and would remove the afterthought that BM is going to the bar on your dime.

Jcksjj's picture

Why half the mortgage? They might need some extra space for a kid and will pay some extra in utilities, but they'd have to have a place to live with or without the kid.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Shelter. It's obviously not done this way though.

Pay half of what's paid for shelter/food/clothing. Calculate the number of days each parent has the kid, and split the difference of who's paid more.

So if you have your child 180 days, and your ex has your child 180 days, you owe 0 CS.

If you have your child for 90, and your ex has them for 270, and you each spend $1000 that year on bills, you owe your ex 666, or the difference in the number of day's you've had the kid, proportionally.

Jcksjj's picture

I understand that. But the kid isnt causing your entire mortgage bill so I dont understand why the ex would need to pay an entire half of it. Some for extra utilities and stuff, sure. I would factor in things like daycare instead.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

I say mortgage because shelter is required for the child, and it's not as if I'd suggest actually paying half the mortgage, just splitting the difference based on how much each parent has the kid.

So a parents that split 180 days/180 days would owe eachother nothing.

bananaseedo's picture

True-but you have guys that decide to just roomate w/someone and not have a mortgage and the custodial parent carries the mortgage.  Or they could 'agree' to certain amount of nights and then the ncp refuses visitation.  I say this because it was excatly my scenario-He purposely only rented with others or rented basement 1 bedroom appts...he CHOSE to spend the least time possible w/them.  Even when I offered him to have them for a while and offered CS he didn't care to.

Jcksjj's picture

I get that too and my ODS dad is the same (the only place hes ever had in his name he had some kid paying the rent to stay there)  - but I still dont get half of the mortgage. I think part of it but not half is fair. Like with an apartment. Say the cost difference between a 1 and 2 bedroom is 300 - I can see splitting the 300 that it costs extra for the kid. But not the full amount. Also, custodial parent can also have a roommate paying part of the mortgage. BM was going to do that and live in a 3 bedroom townhome and just put a bed in her room for SD. I think it's pretty much impossible to factor in all those different scenarios because everyone's is so different, I just cant think of why an entire half a mortgage would ever be fair when the home isn't just for the kid. Plus, your mortgage itself is the same amount regardless of if the kid is full time or part time. Food, utilities, etc would go up some so I can see factoring that in.

Petronella's picture

I'm with you. I don't see how the CP's mortgage is the problem of the NCP. The NCP has no say into what size of house the CP chooses to live in, what part of town etc. 

I'm a big believer that child support should be whatever amount the state or provincial calculator says it should be, based on the parent's income and the number of children. Rather than trying to get fancy or too granular about exactly what the CP's particular expenses are. My DH doesn't care what BM pays in rent or mortgage. It's not his problem how she chooses to live nor it is his responsibility to pay for every last cent, or even half, of her total household expenses. He sends her the money every month that the government tables say he should pay, and how she allocates it is up to her.

ndc's picture

There are so many factors that could influence that calculation that shouldn't.  One parent could have a lower mortgage because they put a larger downpayment on the house.  Another could have a higher mortgage because they chose to be closer to the city where they work, which may or may not be beneficial to the child.  One parent might have a much larger mortgage because they had to have a house that could accommodate children from a different spouse, or extended family.  I get the concept, but there are way too many variables to reduce it to a mortgage formula.

NotThatTypical's picture


And what if its reversed. Does the noncustodial get a break for their mortgage? We had a two bedroom apartment because we had too. Even if we only get the kids every other weekend officially. BM on the other hand lived rent free for an long time with family. Her choice.... so does my SO get a break on child support and BM is expected to cover his rent?

TimeToGo's picture

$546/month, 1 kid. Custody order is 50/50 (2009) but CS is based upon what is ACTUALLY happening (recalculated 2018) which is 82%/18%, sometimes more like 90%/10%. California, looks at income equalization in regard to time spent in each home.

SeeYouNever's picture

My DH pays $888 a month in CS and then around $250 more in extras for whatever crap BM signs SD up for.

I don't pay for anything for SD but DH will stick me for household bills so I end up indirectly paying....

tog redux's picture

DH pays $1027/ mo CS plus $25/wk for health insurance for one lazy, Failure to Launch almost 20 year-old, for 13 more months! 

We are frugal and live way below our take home income, so it doesn't really affect us much. 

thinkthrice's picture


tog redux's picture

They at least capped their combined income at 148K or he would be paying even more. 

ndc's picture

My DH does not pay or receive CS.  We have 50/50 custody. Under our state laws BM could get CS because DH makes more than she does, so she could get roughly 25% of the income differential, but in their CO they agreed to no CS because DH assumed all of their debt and the debt service was far in excess of what CS would have been.  She threatened going back for CS once, but it was too soon after the divorce for her to have gotten it and when DH showed her the math she realized it was too small an amount to bother with.  Plus I was providing childcare on some of her days when I was home, and that would have ended immediately if she went for CS. After that she married a guy with a substantial income, became a SAH and hasn't mentioned CS since. 

Kids get healthcare through our state's CHIP program, through our household since BM's household now makes too much to qualify.  CO says medical is split 50/50, but the premium we pay is small so we don't bother asking BM for half.  For ECs, BM pays for what she signs the kids up for, and DH pays for the stuff he signs them up for.  It all works out, and they don't nickel and dime each other.

thinkthrice's picture

you guys LUCKED OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jcksjj's picture

We dont pay or receive anything for SD, but I (am supposed to) receive $50/month for ODS.

fedupinwa's picture

DH pays $650 plus provides insurance at approx $120 month for SS17.  Expenses: cell, school lunches, school fees are 50/50. Medical copays split 80/20.  DH is supposed to get dependency exemption as part of child support worksheet.

On a side note:  if DH is responsible for 1/2 of school lunches do you guys think it should include meals at McDonalds/Taco Bell/BM's house?  DH has been refusing anything but actual school lunches and giving SS a bit of cash for incidentals.

Petronella's picture

if DH is responsible for 1/2 of school lunches do you guys think it should include meals at McDonalds/Taco Bell/BM's house?  DH has been refusing anything but actual school lunches

I agree with your DH. School lunches are balanced and economical. If skid/BM chooses to buy fast food instead, DH should not have to pay for that. And of course DH should not pay BM extra for lunches at her house! That's what the regular CS is for.

Actually I think school lunches for BM's days should just be included in the regular CS anyway. They're an everyday food expense which is basically the definition of what CS is for.

fedupinwa's picture

The child support is supposed to cover school lunches.  It was just an add on in the decree that DH didn't catch.  That's the problem, add ons like cell phones and school lunches are too grey of an area in divorce decrees and always result in arguements over interpretation.  The arguement of cell phone of course is does that mean bill only or the cell phone too, or what kind of cell phone.  DH bought an Iphone 8 when it was new and BM of course does not feel that she should pay toward it.  Fine!  We let it go, but still, interpretation.  Sometimes I wonder if I am just being a Bitch because I hate BM or if other people see my point of view on stuff like the lunches.

Petronella's picture

Well *I* do not pay one red cent in child support since *I* am not the one who chose to marry and have children with a lazy grasping promiscuous person. My husband pays around $800 Canadian per month for one child (the youngest of 3), it ends when the child turns 19. It theoretically could go on longer if the child goes to full-time post secondary education while still living with BM. But this "child" is very unlikely to do that; they've already dropped out of high school. DH is prepared for the "child" and the BM to decide suddenly, just before the 19th birthday, that education is important after all, and to enrol the "child" in GED classes. If that happens DH will have to go on paying the CS but he will monitor closely to confirm that the "child" remains enrolled full time AND that the "child" still lives with BM and hasn't moved out to live with a boyfriend or something without telling DH.

DH also covers the SK on his extended benefits for health insurance, which is probably worth many hundreds of additional dollars per month but I don't know exactly what comes off his paycheque for this coverage. 

Also every few months (used to be a lot more often), he gets a call from BM asking him to contribute to some additional expense for the "child." Clothes, paperwork, medical stuff, etc. He sometimes agrees, sometimes not. At my urging he has started asking for receipts before sending additional monies.

This SK lived with us for just under a year and BM should have sent DH about $400/month as her assessed CS, but she never sent anything of course. 

Kiwi_koala's picture

My boyfriend is very lucky... His kid's mom's not so much. He pays a little less than 800 a month for 4 kids and gives the mother of his two little kids money off the books. I think it's around $400 and then buys them whatever else they need like clothes, homeschooling circ. Etc.

Kiwi_koala's picture

Agreed. Technically they still have 50/50 physical custody so he wasn't paying child support. They never got the order changed even though he only has them EOWE now.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

When it's all said and done, around 30% of his pre- tax pay goes towards CS. That includes the various insurances he carries on his child and school expenses factored in. We're in a low COL area, and a state that I would say is very pro-BM...EOWE is the norm verses 50-50. 

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Thanks everyone, so interesting to see how it's all different and what's taken into account!

NotThatTypical's picture

My SO pays 1/3 of his income in child support for two kids. He pays half of the children's insurance premiums because his employer doesn't offer insurance (contracted). He also pays half of out of pocket medical.

That is all he is legally ordered to pay to her. He chooses to help with other things on a case by case basis if he supports it. Such as scouts. BM did it all on her own but we like the kids being in it so we help buy the supplies as we can. He's paid money for school extras like T-Shirts and such but that's choice.

I am not legally required to pay anything for the kids and my income is not a factor. I chose to help support them in our home.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

I should also clarify, I'm aware most step-parents do not pay nor are ordered to pay anything. It was more of a general statement in regards to how much "you" (whether you specifically if you're a parent paying CS, a step parent who's finances are combined or perhaps 'you' as a household-- maybe not you personally, but your SO pays) in CS monthly.

I also add that our state "equalizes" income so even in the case of 50-50 split custody, whoever is the higher earner still pays CS to the other parent, even if it's small, to offset the difference in COL. 

Its tiered from what I understand, it doesn't apply to us since we're not 50-50, but if we were, we'd still owe BM in CS because DH out earns her by about 50% annually 

Petronella's picture

It's the same here. When parenting time is 40:60 or 50/50, the higher earners pays the lower earner the difference. Actually for a while, before the older SK aged out, we had YSK living with us while OSK lived with BM and her partner. So that was a 50/50 situation. DH would have paid BM $800 for one kid, BM would have owed DH $400 for one kid. So for this split custody, DH paid BM $400. It was a nice break for us! BM of course was scandalized that her CS went down. Um what did you expect lady, you shipped off one of your little cash cows to live elsewhere, why should your ex keep giving you the same amount of money?? Just no logic at all with these BMs. 

thinkthrice's picture

usually end up paying in some form indirectly.  The courts here changed the wording back in 2009 on the income statement asking what income is coming from all members of the household AKA anyone living with NCP dad.

The courts feel that if Dad is being helped with a live-in partner/spouse/granny/roommate on bills then that frees up his income to pay more CS.  Which is totally a travesty.  What I did was make copious copies of the OLD form which just asks about NCP dad's income.

Step Dads usually don't have to worry about this because they are 99% of the time on the recipient side living with CP BMs but I am sure they are treated like a walking ATM as well.

Also you should be well aware that the Clinton Era Social Security Act gives Fed kickbacks to local child support collection agencies for highest amount collected or decreed.

Zero incentive for download mods.

SMto2's picture

My DH paid $1200 a month for about 16 years, plus health insurance and 60% what insurance did not pay, plus 50% of braces. His CS was 1/3 of his gross pay initially, so it was a huge chunk of his monthly expense. He had EOW visitation where he drove 4 hours roundtrip on Friday to get SSs and 4 hours on Sunday taking them back, no driving by BM, so gas and tolls were an added cost. SSs were 5 and 3 when his CS order was entered, so 1 SS was in school full-time and 1 SS was in pre-school several days a week, but the CS was so high bc  BM claimed she was paying HER retired BM $800 a month for child care! (Same lady who watched them for free when DH and BM were married.) We didn't even pay that much when we had an infant in day care full-time.

When both SSs were in school full-time, DH should have gotten it reduced but instead, kept paying that amount bc he didn't want to rock the boat, so he overpaid for many years. Over time, he earned more money, but BM did not ask for more, so it evened out until oldest SS turned 18. Support should have ended for him, reducing the CS at that time, but DH KEPT PAYING the full $1200 a month to BM for two more years until youngest SS graduated from high school 6 mos after he turned 18, so BM got a huge windfall during those 2 years.  The whole thing was sickening to me and still is when I think back. The only saving grace was that DH became an owner of our law firm (as did I) and got a HUGE raise the year after all CS ended, so BM never got her claws in that money, and she never will!! 

Rags's picture

Once married all income is marital income and even one penny more than what is in the CO is a joint decision.  If either equity life partner vetoes that penny then no additional resources are spent above what is COd.

Keep it simple.

All IMHO of course.

In our case the Spermidiot paid $110/mo for 2yrs then $133/mo for 9 years.  Due to his running from the process server his CS went to $785 for one year then settled at $385/mo for the final 6 years.  The SpermClan never paid a penny above CS and often paid that late.  They were supposed to pay half of all medical costs (Rx, dental, vision, copays, etc, etc, etc...) but never paid a penny of that $10K though it was COd.

My wife played the veto card on going after them for the $10K or so they owed us over the 18yrs that she lived under a CO (I was there for 16yrs of that 18).  I would have gone after them like stink on the shit that they are.  She is far more forgiving and even keeled than I am.  I would go for blood. Her veto is the one that counted at that point. So I had her back.  Grudgingly but I had her back.

I am glad to hear that you have survived until the StepSpawn has aged out from under the CO.

Enjoy your financial freedom and being able to focus on your marriage without so much Skid distraction. And enjoy your success as Law Partners and not having to ship bales of cash to BM.



CLove's picture

We have separate bank accounts. We split household bills in half, as well as split the mortgage.

He has 50/50, which because she filed for head of household is technically 51/49, but we do a 5 days on/5 days off situation, and are flexible when she wants to trade days, etc.

She is supposed to cover insurance, but is currently jobless and might be on disability. We do not know and DH doesnt press the issue so as not to rock the boat.

As child has gotten older I have been doing less for meals. He does most of the cooking and grocery/food purchases when she is with us.

Currently BM Toxic Troll is "between homes", so Munchkin SD13 has been with us full time.

Rags's picture

In our case the SpermClan (the SpermIdiot never paid a dime. SpermGrandHag and SpermGrandPa paid it for him) paid $110/mo for 2yrs then $133/mo for 9 years.  Due to his running from the process server his CS went to $785 for one year then settled at $385/mo for the final 6 years.  The SpermClan never paid a penny above CS and often paid that late.  They were supposed to pay half of all medical costs (Rx, dental, vision, copays, etc, etc, etc...) but never paid a penny of that $10K though it was COd.

His mom and I chose to provide him with a top 10% boarding school (Military School) education.  The SpermClan freaked out fearing that we would tray to nail them for additional support for the tuition. We of course could not have nailed them for tuition.  Their COd obligation (consisting of CS including a few other minor add ons)  as is the case with most Custody/Visitation/Support COs was the limit of their obligation to support the Skid.

CS was elevated to cover a portion of medical insurance and half of after school care costs ($15/mo for the NCP's share of health insurance premiums and $50/mo for the NCP's half of after school care).  The NCP also received an income reduction credit of -$1000/mo (the maximum) due to the StepDad's (my) "elevated income that provides an artificial standard of living for the child" (According to the bottom 10%er of the legal profession in the Harry Potter robes slinging the Fisher-Price wooden hammer). The income reduction credit reduced his CS by a $50/mo.  According to the Hogwarts' Professor NumbNuts Judge.... the NCP should not be punnished by having to support his child at the maximum level due to my income.  As I said... Professor NumbNuts. So, for 16+ years the SpermIdiot got a benefit from my income.  Though only $50/mo of a benefit it chapped my ass beyond all rational importance.

My wife had full physical and legal custody of SS. The SpermClan had 7wks of visitation per year (5wks summer, 1wk winter, 1wk spring)  since we never lived nearer than 1200 miles to SpermLand. 

Our CO was based in the Pac NW.  SS's visitation was always to the Pac NW.   We lived in either TX, PA or DE until SS aged out from under the CO.

Bitingmytongue2020's picture

Partner has a 60/40 split with his EW.  Pays (in total) over $5000/mos for CS and SS.  He has one son.  EW refuses to work, claims she is an immigrant that can’t speak English (BS).  She has a LinkedIn acct that claims to the contrary.  Has a business degree, worked in Canada for a large banking corporation etc.  

EW has even worked her immigration status to swindle a “friend of the court” and consistently harasses my partner via the courts to increase SS every time his income increases.  Meanwhile, she sits at home every day, gets her nails done and shops on his dime.

EW convinced my partner to sponsor her mother to move to Canada before they split.  He paid over $40,000 before they divorced in court fees for that as well.  So, essentially, she lives in a two bedroom condo, with her mother, shares a bed with her 12 yr old son, doesn’t work, and makes more than I do working a 40hr work week.  She also has built in babysitting and draws EI.

Thanks Canada!

retiredusmcdad's picture

I see several answers pertaining to how one would calculate CS that seem to be largely opinion based, that wasn't the question and it is irrelevant.  As any adult knows each state is going to have some formula on how it is calculated at least in the US.   Just trying to bring us back onto the Target.    

Petronella's picture

You come into a week-old thread to tell people the way they posted was wrong? Other people seemed to find everyone's answers interesting, so what do you care if people started discussing calculations? 

And then you didn't even answer the question yourself! 

MissJulsie's picture

My DH has a 16 year old son, who he actually very, very rarely sees these days. Nevertheless, according to the department of child support, he officially has his son 8% of the time, because his access allotment was always every other weekend from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. Up until recently, he was paying $187 a week in child support. Now we've had our own baby, it's gone down a bit, to $153 a week. One tiny blessing, is that the CS gets deducted from his pay, along with tax and superannuation, before what's left lands in his account. So he doesn't miss the money he loses to CS, because he doesn't even see it.

Now, I've been a stay-at-home-mum all year, and we've all lived on just DH's wage. Which would be normally be fine. Except that he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. Cigarettes have become outrageously expensive in Australia. A pack of 20 costs $25. So if you smoke a pack a day, that equals $175 per week, just on that.  So that makes living paycheck to paycheck very difficult.

Another interesting thing, is that when I have applied for certain handouts from the government (that I'm entitled to) they look at my whole situation, including my husband and his income. And they look at DH's wage BEFORE tax, super and CS get deducted.  HOWEVER, when The Child Support department (who is part of the government) look at my husband's situation, they don't take ME into consideration AT ALL.