Child Support Guidelines and Guidelines Reviews: State Differences and Common Issuesclick to download
Since 1989, federal regulations require each state to provide presumptive guidelines (formulas) for determining the amount of child support awards and to review their guidelines at least once every four years. Most states developed and adopted their initial guidelines in the late 1980s. States developed their guidelines based on similar premises and guidelines models and relied on a limited number of available economic studies on the cost of child-rearing.
In the past two decades, most states have made some change to their guidelines, but some states have made more substantive changes than others. Most states have extended their guidelines to cover higher incomes, expanded their guidelines to consider medical child support, and have made other changes to their guidelines. Most states have retained their original guidelines model, but some states have switched guidelines models. Most states also have changed or updated their core formula/schedule to reflect more current economic data at least once in the past two decades. Despite the federal requirement for each state to review its guidelines periodically, few states have routinely updated their guidelines formulas/schedules every time the state has conducted a guidelines review. Still, a few states have made no changes to their core formula/schedule for over a decade.
These factors and other differences contribute to the similarities and differences among state guidelines today. This article explores similarities and differences in existing state guidelines and common issues identified by states as part of their most recent guidelines reviews.
Issue(s): Child Support
Author(s): Jane Venohr
Keyword(s): child support
Issues & Focus Areas
- Child Support
- Child Welfare
- Early Childhood & Education
- Economic Security & Healthcare
- Father Engagement & Healthy Relationships
- Gender-Based Violence