All US courts utilize a calculator to determine child support. These calculations vary by state, but every state uses one of three models: the income shares model, the percentage of income model, or the Melson formula model.
Melson Formula Model
The Melson formula is used by Delaware, Montana, and Hawaii to determine child support payments. This model incorporates policy judgments which ensure that in addition to a child’s needs, each parent’s basic needs are also met.
The Melson formula is similar to the income shares model used by forty-one other states in the US, but allows for a greater degree of support when one (or both) of the parents’ income increases. The three basic principles of the Melson formula are 1) parents are entitled to sufficient income to meet their basic needs; 2) parents shouldn’t be permitted to retain more income than required to meet their basic needs; and 3) the child(ren) are entitled to share in any additional income and benefit from a noncustodial parent’s higher standard of living.