How much is child support?


If you’re preparing for divorce, you’re probably wondering – “How much is child support?”

If you’re preparing for divorce or merely curious, you want to understand how child support is calculated. You might be surprised by the amount deducted from your paycheck. You may also wonder what a reasonable cost is for monthly payments, and which parent spends the most.

We have answers to those questions here.

How Much is Child Support?

The court will consult the child support guidelines for their state to determine your child support obligation before making an official support order. Like any average, there are quite a few variables. Parents who are in a lower income bracket might not have enough gross income for paying child support, while others who are more well-off end up paying a higher monthly amount. Every state calculation takes into account your total monthly net resources.

Parent’s Pro-Rata Share

How much child support you pay also takes into account whether you are the non-custodial parent, how much income the other parent makes compared to you, and other factors such as whether you or the other parent will provide health insurance coverage for the children, and who will pay for educational expenses and other child care expenses.

The general rule is that the child support obligation is shared by both parents in proportion to their incomes, but there are a lot of other factors that go into how much each parent will actually pay.

Custodial Parent’s Income

In some cases, the custodial parent’s income can be imputed (or assumed) for child support purposes. This usually happens when the custodial parent is not working or is not working to their full potential. The court will look at factors like education and work history to determine how much gross income the custodial parent could be earning, and base child support on that amount.

Other Factors Affecting Child Support

There are other factors that might affect how much child support you pay, such as whether you have other children to support, whether you are paying spousal support (alimony), and your personal expenses. Some states also factor in the cost of living in each parent’s household when determining how much child support to award in a court order.

Example Child Support Calculation

In our example, the court starts by determining your “adjusted” gross income – this is your total income minus deductions for state taxes and business expenses – and multiplies it by the guideline percentage for the number of children involved.

For example: if your yearly salary is $15,000 and you have one child, you would be paying 17% of your income per year in child support–this comes out monthly to $212.50 or annually as $2,550.

Average Child Support Order

We have seen according to the 2010 Census Bureau Reports, the average monthly child support payment is $430. Again, this is just an average of the monthly amount of child support payments across the United States and should only be used as an estimate. Your situation is unique, and the amount the court determines will depend on your circumstances and financial resources.

To get a more accurate estimate of how much you might owe in child support, speak with an experienced family law attorney in your state. They will be familiar with how child support is calculated where you live and can help ensure you are paying (or receiving) the appropriate amount of support for your children.

If you’re interested in an estimate of what your support payments should be, use our child support calculator.

And for more information on how you can better understand the child support laws and regulations in your state, visit our state resources section.


  1. Daddsdoinit

    I am active in my child’s life
    His mother decided to throw me out after she had began dating someone
    I moved down the street
    I have my child I would say 35-45 percent of the time
    I support my child I am not absent
    We were never married yet had been together for 9yrs
    I am willing to assist her in any way I can
    But am I responsible for her day to day life
    Or just my child’s monthly needs

    • Matt Hoppe

      You were never married, i don’t see why you would have to be responsible…No alimony payments….Should just be child support, man

      • jossie cox

        If u live in the state of pa being together for 9yrs and acting in a marriage way u may have to support her because pa is a common wealth marriage 7yrs or more I believe

        • Matt Hoppe

          That’s insane…I’m in Boston, Ma….I don’t believe there’s any laws like that here…..I was with my son’s mother for 7 years and we were never even asked how long we were together

          • H.W.

            How much would my husband have to pay for our two children after being married 10 years?

          • Sheri Atwood

            The time you were married does not have any bearing on the amount of child support being paid. Please refer to our Child Support Calculator for your state to get an estimate. In general, child support base payments are based on the income of both parents and the amount of time with the children.

      • yaya

        I was with my husband for 6years and married for 2years he did not want to pay child support but now he field out child support papers with his lawyer and he`s trying to give me 600….. monthly I have to kids with him is that fair ? //// I am so broke right now that I can`t afford a lawyer for a divorce or to help me with this case.

        • JD

          It sounds like your soon to be ex makes the money. Let him pay for the divorce.

          • K. Cruz

            My kids mother put me on childsupport in 2017 not cause i wasent invovled or didnt spend what i have on my kids who were only 1 and 2 years old, i had no source of income on paper and was ordered to around 330 a month so $2,550 a year and my license was suspended the first few month in and department of revenue told me i had to go to county where it was filed to get anything changed and wasent possible for me so i owed back pay for the year i maid zero payments cause 330 dollars i month is ridiculous to pay with no income and then they closed the case cause she wasent keeping in contact with them. Then just 3 weeks ago i get a letter from the court house in the county the child support was first orderd stating i owe 9 thousand dollars in child support for years of child support i had no idea i was still being orderd to pay since the case close with the depertment of revenue thinking that was it i just owe around 2500 for the year i didnt pay n was ok with that never got any notices since the cased close that im still being orderd to pay what can i do about getting it deducted i cant afford a lawyer in the procces of filing for motion to contest impending judgement what can i bring to court that will help me get it reduced to the original 2500 i owed when i was told the case was closed and that was it…

        • Relonger Ann Hardee

          You are responsible for taking care of your child’s needs

      • Sukah

        I have been married for 8 and a half years now been separated for 3years now but he before would make his pops ups and he still does but he makes his way still to see his kids, I however,.. still am struggling all bad not so bad to the point hitting the streets with my kids but bad and I’ve talked to him several times about it but sometimes he’ll say he’ll do it and sometimes he don’t show up or show out to support/provide which it irks my soul but I am saved like too too saved to the point where I am too nice to this MF that’ I haven’t hit him with the child support.. I mean common sense and also own up to your shit and grow tf up and do what u gta and need to do for these kids that’s all I’m sayn to him and in general as well. There’s no excuses to it when it comes to your kids. PERIODT.

        Btw, he was hit with supposedly cancer a sickness/disease idk of some sort about a year ago and now now now he’s saved I mean like cured I guess ok not better but ok and he drives from Nevada to Cali when he’s up too it and comes and go hard for his kid when they are in desperate need of help he does but like at the same time I don’t pressure I do my best on my end it just sometimes sucks but that’s my reality until he’s ok ok good to go back to work work so yea it’s just like as of right now if we have it we have it but if not we don’t but it just sucks sometimes like literally life sucks and bites you hella but you always gta fight it and be brave no matter what when it comes to your kids always,! Salute to all the parents and single parents out there doing it up for there kids like it’s mf suppose too! I know I ain’t Shyte but jus wanted to share it to yahs lol sorry one love erybody✊

        • Sukah

          Btw I don’t know what to do or say sometimes when we already talked how many times about situations like this and I am just like to the point I want to take it to court but I jus don’t want too Nd also I am jus not that person smh but we did agree to divorce so it’s goin to happen for sure, ijs this becuz I kind of need some help/advice/suggestions anythin pls lmk ASAP! Thanks to all

          • Shabby Breaux

            I have 2 kids for my husband.. he cheated on me and was courted ordered to pays 656 for the 1year old child he has…he has another child who he gives 280 to a month but it’s not court ordered.. if we separate and I happen to put him on child support will the 1 year old child support stay the same or will the amount change to be able to support the 2 kids I have for him..

      • chris futrell

        I was married to my kids mother of 3 kids she lied and said i owe 59,000 cause we went to a divorce court and she said i didnt pay her nothing from 2015 to 2019 which is a lie

        • Brian

          I had a 1 night stand with a lady that was 12 years older than me when I was 22. We were both wasted and she told me she couldn’t get pregnant. A few months later her cousin told me she was pregnant. I reached out to her and she ignored me. I carried on with my life due to the fact she never actually contacted me and ignored me when I tried to contact her. 8 years later I reached out to her and got a paternity test because someone brought it up to me. Turns out it was my daughter. A month into confirmation I immediately started paying her $400+ a month. My choice not hers. I tried to see my daughter every weekend. Since then she’s created incredible drama and is extremely immature. Her and my daughter no longer prioritize me in their lives. I have text conversations as proof of her unreasonable, insulting, and unfair behavior. I have still continued to pay her and buy my daughter anything else she needs. At this point I want to go to the courts so I can cut her mom out and be able to spend real time with my daughter. What are my options?

        • Jay

          So what happened?

    • David

      I had a child with a woman never married but owe about 10,000 in back child support. How much will i have to pay weekly.

      • Sheri Atwood

        You will need to contact your local child support agency to get the amount. The issue here is once you owe back child support a large amount of your payments go to interest (which ranges between 8% – 15% depending on your state). It is best to work with your county child support agency to slow down or stop the interest accrual so you are actually able to catch up.

        • Dion

          My child is 11 years old now her father is living in north Carolina and we are living in Jamaica her will send money whenever he feels like it I would have to be begging him to help out for him to help sometime he would be rude and disrespectful and dont help and even if he send it nothing more than a $100 . I ask for help for back to school and he send $220 for back to school and food the booklist alone is for $185 what is there to buy food her birthday was during that time she ask him what you going to me for my birthday daddy and he is going to tell her that me and you mother having issues that’s why you not going to get a gift what kind of a parent would say that to there child he as never gave her anything for her birthday he doesn’t call her we have to buy data to put on the phone for her to do her school work i ask for help because i work in tourism and because of the Corona virus i have last my job from marsh please help me tell me what to do i really wish i dont have to go to court

          • Sheri Atwood

            I am sorry you are going through this. However, this is the exact reason I created SupportPay, so that you can easily demonstrate to her father the actual costs of raising her, rather than just asking for money. We have found that parents are 90%+ more likely to pay or share their child’s expenses if they can see a receipt that shows where the money is going. In addition, by using SupportPay it removes the burden from you to beg for the money – SupportPay does all the communication to the other parent. Most importantly, it has proven to remove this financial conversations from the children so that they are no longer in the middle of financial conflicts between their parents. I urge you to try SupportPay and ask her father to use it as well and see if this can assist in your situation while keeping this out of court.

      • Sukah

        Wow thats crazy smh

    • Ele

      I get 1k from my ex husband. That doesn’t cover half of my monthly investments I make on my son but I am beyond thankful for the help I do get!

  2. Brittney Peltier

    How much will a guy be paying in childsupport if a girl is on tanf

  3. jon deaux

    Here’s an idea – instead of fixating on increasing the gross amount of “child support” collected, we should work to increase the number of parent’s sharing the responsibility for providing for their children’s needs. If I buy new clothes or shoes for my kids, my out of pocket payment should be considered to be a form of child support and not a “gift to the children” by the courts.

    It takes two people to create a child, therefore providing for what English judge Sir William Blackstone described as the child’s care, maintenance, and education should be a SHARED responsibility, not a requirement for the (involuntary) noncustodial parent to be an indentured servant who is expected to provide e a government mandated lifestyle for the child, and by inference, the custodial parent.

    This is also why I find the “Be a Dad” commercials insulting. The courts fixate on direct (cash) child support collections in order to increase the kickbacks that states receive for collecting child support under the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act, but won’t enforce visitation rights,. This makes it far too easy for the custodial mother to cheerfully collect a child support check while pushing the father out of their children’s lives and lying to the kids while saying that “Daddy doesn’t want to see you”.

    • Sheri Atwood

      I agree that child support should be based on the true cost of raising a child and the exact reason we built SupportPay. We wanted to provide transparency and a system to make it easier for both parents to see how much a child actually costs and ensure that children get the financial support they deserve. In the same vain, it must be understood that children are not free and until parents start using systems such as SupportPay then the court has no other option but to force the amount based on a calculation that does not directly represent the true cost of raising a child. In addition, SupportPay has provided the record for the children to show what each parent is actually contributing to the financial support of the children.

      • Felix madera

        I’m am having a very difficult time just living, I pay $381 per week in child support plus $104 per week for health insurance. And I’ve spent my savings trying to live. My ex wife is a part time student and does not work. I work over nights, and I was only honored every other weekend to have my kids. Which is only 4 days a month. Any advice ?? I’m desperate here

        • Sheri Atwood

          The best thing you can do is file for a modification of your child support. With this file we highly suggest you submit detailed documentation of your current expenses and the amount available to you at after you pay the child support. In addition, we suggest you track any and all expenses you are paying for for your children and proof that you have previously made payments on time. This is the reason we created SupportPay. Not only to help parents manage child support and share expenses but also to help parents track and document their expenses. To file a modification you can go to your state website or call your child support division in your state. To find out exactly who to contact you can visit our State Resources Page

        • Dana Dane

          She should be considered an unfit mother if her living conditions depend on your willingness to pay child support. How dare the court demand you pay support & medical expense? I’d take her back to court immediately. Look at it this way, what would happen if YOU didn’t work? What could she provide? Answer- she would have to get a mofo job with medical coverage. Its “support” , its “help” its “in addition to” ….its NOT “dependence”..Good luck

        • Veronica Patty

          go back to court if you are a good parent open up a case again for you and your child.

  4. Lizzy

    My ex is having my daughter every weekend and pays child support every week. He has now decided to see her every fortnight. Will payments change?

    • Sheri Atwood

      Even if chooses to change the amount of time that he sees his child on of you would either need to go back to court to get the child support amount changed or you would need to agree to accept a different amount since he is having your daughter a different amount of time than the time that was used to calculate the base child support amount. In either case, it is best for your daughter to try to come to an amicable agreement.

    • Dana Dane

      He shouldn’t have her EVERY weekend This already sounds weird. Females require maternal relationships. Makes we wanna ask how much time do you spend wirh her? Child support or not, unless your DEAD and he exercised his parental right for custody- you’re alive, accepting child support for a female child then the majority of time she spends with her fit Mom. Look at this way, every weekend your daughter goes to does that sound

  5. H.W.

    My husband is already paying child support on 3 kids and child support takes half his ssi check every month. If i filed for him to pay, what would his payments be on my 2 children?

  6. Dana Dane

    He shouldn’t have her EVERY weekend This already sounds weird. Females require maternal relationships. Makes we wanna ask how much time do you spend wirh her? Child support or not, unless your DEAD and he exercised his parental right for custody- you’re alive, accepting child support for a female child then the majority of time she spends with her fit Mom. Look at this way, every weekend your daughter goes to does that sound

  7. Lamiya Nunn

    Listen too this Judgement, Order to pay child support 2 children at 1,200 a month and F.O.C increased my income to 60k per year, I receive food benefits and medicaid and have custody of my other children and i receive child support my arrears sky rocketed from 2.,400 to over 20k in least than 2years i am facing 4years in prison just finished doing 50 days in washtenaw county jail…. 734 547-9030

  8. vasilio a alers

    i get pay every week $680 and i pay for my first child $94.5 every weeks and for the second child the judge making pay $190 every week so now $379 its out of my check because i find out that the mother of my second child sister and cuz work in the same court house in Somerville nj with does judges and they don’t wont take in concideration that i got to other child

  9. Sid Riggins

    I live in Alabama I pay $759/mo in child support for one child my only child, never married i make gross about 3,000/mo but after taxes i bring home net around 2,000/mo is what i pay for child support a little much? i also have my child 30% out of each month.

  10. Mags

    My husband was transferred to America and his children live in Italy. One child is 22 and going to college abs the 2nd child is 14. The oldest lives in our apt full time rent free and is given a allowance of 250 euros monthly. We are paying $800 euros monthly for each child + all extra expenses. My husband ex is threatening to bring us to court bc she claims we should pay them 50% of him income. She is married and they have a son, but both work at her bridal store that generates little income, so she turning to us. What is the correct amount?

  11. not bad

    damn , now im glad i live in a 3rd world country , yeah , we (3rd world countries) dont have many entertainment crap , not much of stuff , conservative minds ( as the world said) .

    But we do have very strong culture , family relationship than these so called ” developed , civilized , educated countries”.

  12. Ken

    Count yourself lucky my son’s American but I’m Canadian and I have to pay a according to American laws. I paid three times the amount I would hear in Canada and with this covid19 crisis and the exchange rate going up it’s even higher now. And there is no benefits or anything I can go that I can get to help from the government here or in the United States that I’m aware of.

    • Saul Good

      The mother of my child claims she didnt file order to put me on cs but my child did recieve ABC Vouchers for daycare so the state may have ordered me to pay but she informed me that she doesn’t recieve monthly payments we sent in a letter for the payments to be stopped and I was told ‘THEY dont care about a letter….’ I am in the same situation where I was told the payments would be stopped after $670 and they have went up and started to be talen out my check without consent I need help to get this in order it seems I am being taken advantage of for money

  13. Saul Good

    The mother of my child claims she didnt file order to put me on cs but my child did recieve ABC Vouchers for daycare so the state may have ordered me to pay but she informed me that she doesn’t recieve monthly payments we sent in a letter for the payments to be stopped and I was told ‘THEY dont care about a letter….’ I am in the same situation where I was told the payments would be stopped after $670 and they have went up and started to be talen out my check without consent I need help to get this in order it seems I am being taken advantage of for money

  14. Tom Smith

    I have paid $170,000+ in child support over 17 years and my youngest just turned 19 which is the age in Nebraska, I have $65,000 in arrears which is actually $45,000 plus $20,000 in interest. When this started I was making $104,000 a year now I don’t make $45,000…I feel I shouldn’t have to pay that huge amount of arrears or interest? HELP

  15. Dale Petersen

    Single dad with full custody of two boys, its been 9 years and only just got $200 from her. I think its time for some child support!

  16. Zachary Steward

    So I knew to this. Me and my lady have been off and on for 9 years. 25 with a almost 8yr old daughter. And currently pregnant with anyone. I’m a overnight truck driver making 46k yr. I’m unhappy in the relationship. But I feel trapped. I feel if I leave I will have to pay a lot in child support. She don’t work, I mean she will work a job maybe 2 months and quit. Treats me and our daughter like crap. I can’t afford to find another job, but can’t afford to be paying up the butt for child support because I work nights. I know I need to find another job/ days. But I’m just losing my mind, feel like it’s either stay and be unhappy and get treated like shit, or get financially fucked. I need advice, I’m a great father and want to be there.

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