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Study examines disparity in child support

According to a study by Custody X Change, a typical child support payment in Illinois ranges from about $735 to $880 per month. The study used an average income of $55,000 for the custodial parent and $45,000 for the noncustodial parent. It also assumed that the custodial parent spent 65% of the time with the two children while the noncustodial spent the remaining 35% with the kids. The average combined income for two-earner families is $56,000 based on Pew and census data, so the exact figures may vary, but the study did emphasize the disparity in child support payments in different states.

The difference did not seem to be linked to cost of living since New Jersey, one of the states with the highest cost of living, had one of the lowest typical child support payments. Payments ranged from a low of around $400-$528 in some states to a high of $881-$1,187.

While every state has a formula for calculating child support, judges may also have some input. For example, how much time each parent spends with the child may affect the payment amount. Knowing how child custody payments can differ from state to state may affect a parent's decision to move to another state if custody payments will change significantly.

Parents should be aware that if they do decide to relocate to another state and it will affect custody and visitation, they may have to go to court to get permission for the move. If a parent loses a job or has another reason for no longer being able to pay child support, a lawyer could potentially help them get a modification in child support. If this modification is granted, it is usually not retroactive. The parent will still owe any back support up to the time of the modification.

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