The Income-Shares Model
The Income-Shares model is the most popular model used among states. Under the income-shares model, courts take into account the incomes of both parents to determine the child support obligation; many states will then multiply the parents’ combined income by a particular percentage (based on the number of children) to arrive at a support obligation (for instance, 15 percent of the combined income for one child, 25 percent for two children, and 30 percent for three children); that number will be divided in half, and the non-custodial parent will be obligated to pay it.
Still, other states have child support tables; a court will look at the parents’ combined incomes and apply the child support amount dictated by the guideline chart; the amount is then divided between the parents according to their incomes. The non-custodial parent will then have to pay his or her proportionate share to the custodial parent because it is assumed that the custodial parent will pay his or her share by virtue of being the custodial parent.