Does the Number of Children Affect Child Support?

By Beverly Bird

Child support is intended to provide for your children's basic needs – shelter, food and clothing – when you and your spouse divorce. Almost all states use one of two models, or formulas, to arrive at child support obligations. Your obligation typically increases with the number of children you have.

Percentage of Obligor's Income Model

As of 2013, nine states and the District of Columbia use the percentage of obligor's income model for calculating child support. If you live in one of these states, you can expect to pay a flat percentage of your income toward your children's needs if you're not the custodial parent. For example, if you have one child, Texas child support takes 20 percent of your pay, and if you have four or more children, the amount of support increases to 35 percent.

Income Shares Model

The majority of states – 38 as of 2013 – use the income shares model for calculating support. These states factor in both parents' incomes on the premise that if you and your spouse didn't divorce, your children would benefit from your combined earnings. The calculations under this model first add your incomes together, and then set aside a portion of the total for your children's needs. If your combined incomes total $60,000, and if you earn $40,000 of that, you would be responsible for about two-thirds of the amount set aside for your children. For example, in Arizona, if you and your spouse together earn $5,000 a month, $794 of this goes to child support if you have one child, and $1,633 would be set aside if you have six children or more.

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Child Support Laws & Estimated Amounts in Arkansas


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The Child Support Obligation for a Non-Custodial Parent According to the Law in Illinois

Illinois is one of only 10 jurisdictions that still calculates child support the good, old-fashioned way, based only on the non-custodial parent's income. Along with eight other states and the District of Columbia, Illinois courts use the percentage of obligor's income formula for determining a non-custodial parent's obligation. This formula doesn't incorporate your spouse's earnings, but if you're divorcing and you think you'll be the non-custodial parent, it makes it relatively easy to understand what your obligation will be going forward.

How to Figure Up Child Support for Arkansas

Arkansas is one of the states that determines child support based on the noncustodial parent's income, without regard to the custodial parent's income. This base support amount may be adjusted up or down to promote the welfare of the children and to compensate for certain expenses of the noncustodial parent.

What Percentage Is Child Support Based On in Arkansas?

Of the many uncertainties involved with divorce, child support can be front and center. It will have a significant effect on your post-separation budget, so you'll probably want to know as soon as possible how much your obligation will be. In some states, it can be difficult to calculate what percentage of your income will go toward support, at least without professional help. If you live in Arkansas, however, you can take heart because child support is relatively simple to calculate.

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