Question: How is the amount of child support determined?
Answer: Each state in the United States is required by federal law to establish guidelines that are used to calculate child support due from parents based largely on their income and expenses. Because states have a fair amount of discretion in setting these guidelines, child support payments required vary widely between states, even under the same circumstances. But normally, the courts will take into account issues like the standard of living of the child prior to divorce, the specific needs of the child, the resources of the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent's ability to pay. Because in most states judges are allowed wide discretion in setting these payments, it is important for a non-custodial father to get as much information on the table with the court up-front to make the payments are fair as possible.