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Can You Calculate the Average Cost of Child Support

Can You Calculate the Average Cost of Child Support?

Child support can be a key concern in the divorce of any couple with children. It's natural to wonder what the average support payment is, but the answer to that is not simple. Knowing the average cost of child support will actually tell you little about how much you may have to pay or may receive. Here's why:

Child support amounts are calculated based on many factors, including both parents' monthly income from all sources and the number of children in the family who need support. After you provide this information, the court will base its child support order on these numbers, not on an average support payment figure.

Beyond income and number of children to support, the court may ask you for additional information, such as:

  • How much you spend on child care,
  • How much you spend on health care for the child or children,
  • If you have costs such as child support or spousal support related to another divorce , and
  • If you receive Social Security or veterans' benefits for either disability or retirement.

The court will include these figures in its calculations as well.

A More Effective Estimate Than the Average Cost of Child Support

The only way to truly know how much child support you will be expected to pay or will receive is to wait for the court to issue its ruling. You can, however, get an idea of what the payment will be by using tools designed to estimate that amount. Almost every state has an online child support calculator or child support worksheets. After you fill in certain information, these tools either figure out for you or show you how to figure out the estimated child support amount for your situation.

For instance, California's payment estimator asks for the same information the state courts use to determine the amount of child support they order. Remember, though, that while the courts do have to follow statewide guidelines in determining the amount, the actual figure they come up with may be different from the total calculated by the online tool.

In Texas, the parent responsible for child support can expect to pay 20 percent to 40 percent of his or her net income, depending on the number of children involved. If you are a Texas resident, the Texas child support calculator can help you estimate the amount of child support for your divorce case.

If you're wondering how much the child support order may be for your own case, you can do a quick online search for your state's child support calculator or worksheets. Some calculators require you to understand legal definitions, so you may need to enlist the help of a qualified attorney.

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