Are child support determinations unfair? Study says yes.

A recently released study reports that the general public finds the methods used to determine child support are unfair.

According to a new study, the general public does not support the methods used to calculate child support determinations. The study was conducted using people from varying demographics. Researchers with the study found that regardless of economic status, political affiliation and other varying factors, the vast majority of the general public believes that current child support laws are not in line with basic principles of fairness.

The study, "Public Views About What is Fair in Child Support Disagree Substantially With the Law: The Public is More Focused on Child Welfare", was published in the Child and Family Blog, a blog backed by The Future of Children at Princeton University and the Applied Developmental Psychology Research Group at the University of Cambridge. Researchers with the study found that the public agrees with the legal requirement that parents financially support their children, but disagrees with how the courts come up with the required child support payment. At issue was the way courts review the income of both parents. Ultimately, most Americans believe the courts should take both the custodial and noncustodial parent's incomes into account when calculating this amount, not just the income of the noncustodial parent.

Child support laws in Texas

Child support laws are governed by state law, and each state takes a different approach to the process. In Texas, courts take a variety of factors into consideration when determining the child support obligation. These factors include:

  • Age and needs of the child
  • Ability of parents to contribute to the support of the child
  • Financial resources available to contribute support to the child
  • Amount of time spent with the child
  • Child care expenses
  • Amount of alimony paid or received

When it comes to income, in situations where the net monthly resources are not greater than $8,550.00, the court may apply guidelines to develop a determination for the support of the child. These guidelines essentially break down to 20 percent of the noncustodial parent's net resources for the support of one child, 25 percent for the support of two, 30 percent for the support of three and 35 percent for the support of four. These percentages are adjusted if the noncustodial parent has a legal duty to support children not before the court. Additionally, child support for net monthly resources greater than $8550.00 is determined based upon the child's needs.

Child support and the need for legal counsel

The guidelines noted above do not apply to every case. Each determination is unique. As a result, those who are going through a divorce with children are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced child support lawyer.

Keywords: child support, unfair, general public, principles of fairness, Disagree Substantially, Princeton University, Developmental Psychology Research Group, noncustodial parent, Child care expenses, legal counsel.