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Study looks at views on child support calculations

On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Child Support on Thursday, June 11, 2015.

Parents in Illinois who are ordered to pay child support or who are recipients of those payments often feel that the amount is unfair. In an effort to determine what child support payment structure the public thinks is fair, researchers from Arizona State University interviewed randomly selected people in both Arizona and England about their views on child support calculations.

Participants in the study were asked to decide how much child support was fair in hypothetical situations where the mother was the custodial parent and the father was the noncustodial parent. Interviewers would then change the amount of both of the parents’ incomes and ask if the child support order should be modified. Researchers discovered that participants thought changes in the mother’s income should cause the child support amount to go up or down. However, respondents did not put as much weight on changes in the father’s income.

Another question that researchers asked study participants was whether the custodial parent’s remarriage should result in a change to the child support order. Although in most cases stepparents are not legally required to support their stepchildren, respondents thought that the stepparent’s income should be taken into account when calculating child support.

A parent who is going through a divorce may want to have representation from an attorney in order to ensure that the child support order is calculated based on accurate information. Once a judge has issued a child support order, the process of having it modified can take time, but it is often predicated upon an adverse change in financial circumstances of the parent who had been obligated under the order to pay.