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Study reveals wide disparity in child support across the country

The costs of raising a family varies across the country. It may seem logical that child support orders would reflect the cost of living in a particular location. However, one recent study suggests that even though Texas calculates support differently than most, it is about average when it comes to support obligations.

A company that runs an application that assists parents with child custody and support issues recently conducted a study of the varying costs of child support based on geographical location. It determined that the cost of living does not seem to play a significant role when a court is deciding what to award to a custodial parent. The study used a typical example of a mother who has custody of two children, ages 7 and 10, approximately 65% of the time, which reflects the typical shared custody arrangements. According to this study, the amount of support can be significantly higher depending on the state where one resides.

Out of the five most expensive states, two of them have lower child support than expected. The most costly state, Hawaii, only ranks in the top 10 for child support costs. Four states, including Texas, do not consider the income of the mother in the hypothetical example, but other states will take the income of both parents into consideration. However, if the mother should experience a drop in income, a few states will not make adjustments in the support payments.

The study also looked at such factors as political influence, and again, it did not find that the political affiliation of particular state corresponded with a measurable change in child support awards. Texas appears to be comparable with a majority of other states, though it may award an estimated $100 more per month since the mother's income was not a factor. Parents who are unable to agree on matters related to child support or custody may benefit from consulting with a family law attorney.

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