People in Massachusetts have the highest child support payments in the country, a figure that reflects the cost of living but also the state’s laws. For divorced parents, child support calculations can be an important factor when considering relocation. Under federal law, each state can set its own guidelines for calculating child support. Even neighboring states can have substantially different support guidelines, with average payments differing by over $600 between Massachusetts and Vermont.

These calculations were carried out by Custody X Change, a group that assessed hypothetical payments for families with two kids in states across the country. While Northeastern states generally top the list, Massachusetts has the highest child support payments for several reasons. Vermont is a strong outlier in New England, while high payments in most states reflect the hefty cost of living in the area. There are a range of factors that can be included in the calculation, including other children outside the relationship, spousal support, health insurance, or remarriage.

Unlike some other states, the custodial parent’s income is taken into account when calculating support payments. For example, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Texas still fail to account for mothers’ income in their guidelines. While mothers are more frequently custodial parents, it should be noted that an increasing number of fathers share joint custody or have primary custody. The division of custody time can also affect child support payments, especially in states that heavily favor some kind of joint custody. In general, the Rocky Mountain states assess lower child support payments.

When Massachusetts parents think about divorcing, they may wonder how relocation and residency will affect child support. Middlesex County, Massachusetts, child support lawyers can provide advice and guidance on negotiating a fair solution.