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Study looks at child support payment variations

A study by Custody X Change calculated typical child support payments for all 50 states and found Kentucky on the higher end at $735-$880. The states with the highest typical payments had a range of $881-$1,187, and those with the lowest ranged from $400-$528.

The company used hypothetical parents with two children and a total income of $100,000, with the noncustodial parent making $55,000. The noncustodial parent spent 35% of the time with the children. Pew Research and census figures estimate a lower average income for two earners at $56,000, but the study still shows the disparity in support payments. For example, support payments across the state border in Tennessee were in the lowest range.

Each state has its own parameters for child support, and a judge also has some discretion in assigning amounts. For example, child support payments might vary based on how much time each parent spends with the child. Some judges may also be wary about setting payments too high because they could discourage the noncustodial parent from having contact with the child. Alimony, remarriage and how many other children each parent is caring for might also be a factor. If a parent plans to move to another state after divorce, both parents may want to consider the impact on child support.

Reaching a decision on child custody and visitation can be a difficult part of the divorce process. Parents may struggle with the idea that they will not have as much time with their children as they would like. If parents decide to try to negotiate an agreement instead of going to court, it may help them to use the same standard the court does of focusing on the best interests of the child. This usually includes allowing the child ample visitation time with both parents.

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