Zuba & Associates, P.C.

How states determine child support

Some Illinois residents may have heard the amount of child support that One Direction's Louis Tomlinson had to pay to his ex-fiancée. Since his net worth is estimated to be between $20 to $50 million, media reports say that he makes payments of upwards of five figures each month. Although some may consider this a high amount, courts look at several factors and use different tools to determine how much an individual should pay.

Before a court decides on an amount of child support a non-custodial parent should make each month, a judge will look to maintain the child's standard of living. For instance, the court will consider what privileges and other benefits the child would have enjoyed growing up if both of his or her parents would have remained together.

Additionally, a court may also either use the income shares model or the percentage income model to determine child support. In the former, a court will account for both of the parents' income, the number of children and the child-rearing costs to make a decision. In the latter, a percentage figure and the income of the non-custodial parent are used to calculate child support. Some states may adopt both methods.

Although judges try to keep the best interests of the child in mind when making a ruling, some flaws in the system exist. For example, a custodial parent does not need to prove that he or she is using the funds for the benefit of the child. However, if a non-custodial parent misses multiple payments, that individual could be seriously punished by a court.

A family law attorney could help an individual in a case concerning child visitation, support or custody. If the matter is contentious, a lawyer could represent a parent in court.

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