Child Support Lawyer

In 2016, there was an estimated $160 billion dollars in unpaid child support.

When parents divorce, various frustrations present themselves. Not only do the parents have to confront the concept of losing someone they were at one point committed to, they also have financial obstacles ahead. Child custody is a major component of divorce related grief. As a parent, you want to still maintain the same amount of contact with your child as before. And as a child support lawyer from a firm like the Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A. can explain, child support payments are considered egregious by many. But, are they outrageous, or are they reasonable?

Dr. William Comanor, an economics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was the lead author in a study that outlined the flaws with the current child support models. In the study, over 16,000 households were compared. The control group consisted of couples without children whereas the measured group was separated into 3 subgroups: families with one, two, or three children.  One of the main reports used to estimate current expenses of raising a child is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Comanor addresses some of the issues with this approach in the study.

In the USDA approach, family expenditures are categorized and examined. The expenses within the categories are then divided evenly by the number of family members – creating an average cost. In other words, if a couple with one child within a given demographic spends $300 a month on transportation, the cost of providing a single child transportation would equate to $100 a month.

The concern with this approach is that it doesn’t take into account realistic, additional out-of-pocket expenses. Generally, if a couple has two cars before they have a child, it is unlikely they will purchase a third to account for the additional family member. A more reasonable change in transportation expense would be accrued from the purchase of a car seat, not an additional car. However, it is not just the transportation costs that are skewed in these calculations. Housing often remains relatively stable with the addition of a child.

Suppose a couple without a child lives in a two bedroom apartment, where one of the bedrooms is where they sleep, and the other bedroom is used as a guest room. The addition of a child will usually result in the conversion of the guest room to a nursery; thereby not altering the costs of housing. 

Though there are issues with the USDA model, it is still used in some regard today. If you are in litigation concerning child support, seek counsel from a professional attorney specializing in family law and child support. The attorney should be well versed in this category and may be able to provide you with valuable options concerning child support negotiations.