I understand state guidelines set the amount of money that will be ordered.
How can I find the guidelines for my state?
All states have guidelines for setting child support orders. Some states have links to
their guidelines on their websites, or you can call the state CSE agency for
a copy. Links to the state CSE websites are at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/extinf.htm#exta
Also, we have found that doing an internet search for "support guidelines" will take you to
guidelines for a number of states. (We have not reviewed
those sites for accuracy and do not provide content for these sites.)
If you can't find the guidelines on the internet, you can call the State CSE agency to ask where you can
get a copy. State CSE agency telephone numbers and addresses are at
There are different "models" for guidelines: Some states base their guidelines on both
parents' incomes (an income-share model), some only on the income of
the noncustodial parent (a percentage model). In the models based only on the
noncustodial parent income, it is presumed that the custodial parent is sharing
equally by providing care, food, clothing, shelter, etc. The state will
sometimes consider the amount of time that the child(ren) spend with each
parent in joint custody situations but may try to even out the amount of
money available if one parent earns less than the other does. To find out what
model your state uses, check with the state.
The Federal government only requires that states do have guidelines, that
the guidelines take into consideration all earnings and income of the
noncustodial parent, that the guidelines are based on specific descriptive and
numeric criteria, and that they provide for health care needs. The guidelines
must be used for setting support orders unless the judge or other administrator
shows in writing why not using them is in the best interest of the child.
States must review their guidelines every four years to make sure that they
result in fair support orders. Some review them more often. If you would like
to suggest changes to the guidelines, ask the state how to get your suggestions
to the people who will review the guidelines. Common issues:
These and other questions and answers are available in the Child
Support Enforcement Questions and Answers Database. We store
all answers to our frequently asked questions in this database. You may
search it by category, keywords, or phrases.