Oklahoma parents who pay or receive child support and are considering moving to a different state might question how this might affect custody and support issues. Logically, thinking about cost-of-living and a child’s best interest, there might be a question of how constant support amounts remain throughout the country. They might be surprised that amounts vary widely due to other factors in how states calculate support payments.

When parents negotiate child custody & support, their first concern is maintaining the quality of life of their children. The federal government provides guidelines for establishing support payments. However, each state designs its own formula, and as a result, states do not always arrive at the same amount for families in similar situations.

Some states, for example, do not include the income generated by a custodial parent when calculating payment amounts. This leads to payments that are, on average, about $100 higher than in other states. Other states are concerned about the burden of the payment of the non-custodial parent, focusing on making sure that payments are not too high as to lead a parent to stop paying and abandon their child. Judges also have discretion as support amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis.

According to Custody X Change, a company with a web app to assist parents in establishing child support, the amount of support can vary by as much as $700 from one state to another. In general, states in the Northeastern region have the highest payment amounts while those in the Rocky Mountain areas have the lowest payments.

Negotiating child custody and support payments can be a complex process. A parent in this situation might benefit from assistance by a lawyer with family law experience, who can help them understand state legislation and formulas and prepare for the negotiation process with their ex.