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Child Support Guidelines: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas W. Allen

Abstract

Child support guideline systems do more than simply determine the amount of income to be transferred from the noncustodial to the custodial household. They create incentives, one way or another, for spouses to divorce and seek custody and support payments. We examine three cases found in North America, and find that the common method of income shares provides a decent guideline that does not create any perverse incentives for divorce. Percentage-of-obligor-income methods do worse than other systems, and can cause increases in divorce rates for families in which one spouse earns a high income. Finally, the Canadian system, which is designed to transfer large amounts of net wealth, creates very large negative incentives for marriage stability

Topics: child support, divorce, Family Law, Law
Publisher: NDLScholarship
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:scholarship.law.nd.edu:law_faculty_scholarship-1481
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