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How is child support determined?

Each state has child support guidelines in place that are used as the foundation for determining the amount of child support owed. While guidelines vary from state to state, courts setting child support orders will generally follow the amount suggested by the guidelines unless a reason to depart from them exists. Most guidelines factor in at least some of the following:

  • The needs of the child
  • The relative abilities of the parents to pay support
  • The standard of living the child would have had but for the divorce