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How Much In Child Support Will I Have To Pay/Get?

Updated on December 17, 2014
Washington State Child Support Estimator
Washington State Child Support Estimator | Source

How much child support you will have to pay depends on what state you live in, each state calculates child support differently but there are also many similarities in how child support is calculated throughout the country.

Cost of living has some barring on what child support will be set at. For example, child support set in New York City is going to be higher than in Kansas City because the cost of living is significantly higher in New York than in Kansas.

A rough estimate is your child support will be about 25% of your income. So, a father making $10 per hour paying child support for 1 child would pay roughly $350 per month.

When child support is calculated the mother’s and the father’s income is used. If one of the parties is not working then the income should be imputed to them and used in the calculation. They may impute minimum wage for example, if the father has no recent work history.

For the purposes of child support net income is used, which is income after taxes are deducted or what is often called take home pay. An easy way to calculate take home pay is to figure out the person's hourly wage and then take 20% of the top for deductions such as taxes.

For example, if the mother is making $10 per hour it would be calculated as $10 per hour times 40 hours per week. This equals $400 per week. 52 weeks in a year times $400 equals $20,800 per year. Divide $20,800 by 12 and you get a $1733 monthly average. Take 20% off of $1733, which is $347 for taxes, leaving $1386 take home pay for the mother. This is the figure, $1386, that would be used in the child support calculation.

Why Are Both Parties Incomes Used In Calculating Child Support?

The mother and the father’s incomes are combined when child support is being set. Many think only the paying parent’s income should be used. The reason both the parent’s income is used is in the interest of the child’s standard of living.

Child support is set as though both parents were in the household and supporting the child. Whether right or wrong the calculation is trying to mimic a nuclear family standard of living for the child where both parent's are in the home supporting the child.

Example of Calculating Take Home Pay

Calculation Showing how to compute monthly take home pay based on $10 per hour.
Calculation Showing how to compute monthly take home pay based on $10 per hour.

Calculator Below

The link below will bring you to the State Of Washington's Child Support calculator.

Simply input the take home pay for the mother and the father. Enter the number of children and indicate if any of the children are 12 or over. The child support rate is slightly higher for a child if they are 12 years old or older. The reason being they cost more money to support than a child under 12.

Once you have input these figures it will give you a ball park figure of how much child support you can expect to pay or receive based on your incomes and number of children.

For example if you input $10 for each parent or $1386 take home per month it calculates $275 for 1 child if they are under 12, or $340 per month if they are over 12.


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