The three main types of child support calculations

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Parent and Baby's Hands and Feet ca. 2002
Parent and Baby’s Hands and Feet ca. 2002

Child support is a payment that is ordered by the court from one parent to another, to contribute to the costs of taking care of a minor child. This is to ensure that a child receives equal support from both parents, which he/she would have received if there had been no divorce. There are many formulas used to calculate child support. Here are 3 of the most common models.

Income shares model – This model takes into account both parents incomes and how much they would have had to spend on the child, if they had been living in an intact household. The percentages vary according to the number and ages of the children.

Percentage of income model – This method only uses the income of the parent who does not have custody of the child. It calculates a percentage of the parent’s income using two methods. One is a flat method, which means that a set percentage will be payable irrespective of the parent’s income level. The second, uses a varying percentage, which changes if the parent’s income increases or reduces.

Melson formula model – This model recognizes 3 basic beliefs, they are; supporting others is not possible if the parent’s basic needs are not met, the basic poverty needs of the child should be met before the parent’s economic status is improved and if a parent’s standard of living increases, these benefits should be shared with the child. Firstly, the model provides the parents with a poverty self reserve and a percentage of the balance will be calculated for child support.