By R. Mark Rogers
of the "Intact Family" standard in Income Shares child cost
The Income Shares child cost tables are based on married family
data. The problems with this, and alternatives, are discussed.
that Both Engel and Rothbarth Versions of Income Shares Cost Tables
Overestimate Child Costs [PDF]
November 1, 2005.
The Law And Economics
Of Child Support Payments
This recent book is a collection of papers
by R.M. Rogers, Sanford Braver, and others and provides important
citation material. They find that child support guidelines currently
in use in the U.S. typically generate awards three to four times
what they would be if based on economically sound cost tables and
a true equal duty of support for both parents. See the
full description [MSWord.] Available at the publisher's
web site and (least costly) Barnes
and Noble. (ISBN 1 84376 121 1)
on Hyde-Woolsey Child Support Bill – HR-1488. [MSWord]
Invited Testimony Presented to the Human
Resources Subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee,
March 16, 2000. Reviews how bill HR-1488would create a conflict
within the IRS between the objective of being a collector of general
revenue versus becoming an agent of a specific group (custodial
parents.) Difficulties are discussed with the IRS working
with conflicting state laws on child support and differently motivated
Federal regulations. [Oral
testimony in MSWord]
and Income Shares Child Support Guidelines: Excessive Burdens and
Flawed Economic Foundation,” Family Law Quarterly,
Spring 1999, pp.135-156. [PDF]
In contracst to myth, custodial
parents end up with higher standards of living than noncustodial
parents under traditional Wisconsin-style child support guidelines
in the vast majority of situations, including where the non-custodial
parent earns notably more than the custodial parent. This
higher standard of living for the custodial parent holds true when
a standard Income Shares model is used in most low and moderate
Wisconsin-Style Child Support Guidelines Violate Mainstream Economic
Theory and Empirical Research: Georgia
as an Example
Working paper presented to Georgia Commission on Child Support,
June 4, 1998. Evaluates Wisconsin-style child support guidelines
in terms of their consistency with mainstream economic theory and
research. These guidelines result in child support obligations that
rise as a proportion of after-tax income, creating an especially
large transfer of after-tax income at moderate and high income levels.
The custodial parent’s after-tax advantage is as high as 40
to 50 percent more than for the non-custodial parent in just a low
to moderately low income range.
“Cost Shares” Child Support Guideline: A Working, Superior
Alternative To Current Guidelines
Notes and charts from a seminar presentation to the 13th National
Conference of the Children's Rights Council, Bethesda, Maryland,
May 5, 2001. The notes cover the child cost definition in the Income
Shares guidelines and the methodology of the
guideline. Includes examples of current guidelines being obviously
excessive. Examples of the more rational
“COSTShares” Child Support Guideline: Application, Updates,
and Policy Issues
Presentation to the 14th National Conference, Children's Rights
Council November 8, 2003. In plain English and point form, the flaws
in current child support guidelines and how the
formula overcomes them.
|Percentage of Obligor in Georgia
In 1989, R. Mark Roger’s home state of
Georgia adopted child support guidelines based on the Wisconsin
Model, or, Percentage of Obligor Income. In 2007, the state adopted
a hybrid Income Shares guideline. (Not great, but better.)
Below are some of the papers used to argue against
Percentage of Obligor Income – and why Georgia was forced
to change – that can still be used in states that use it.
Exhibits: Why Georgia's Child Support Guidelines Are Unconstitutional,
October 29, 2001
Court exhibits, including written analysis, that provided the primary
economic foundation for Superior Court Judge C. Dane Perkins declaring
Georgia’s Wisconsin-based child support guidelines unconstitutional.
before the 2001 Georgia Commission on Child Support
Highlights the origin of Georgia’s original child support
guideline, its lack of economic basis, flaws in the Income Shares
guideline that is used by about 33 states, and the better alternative
of the guideline.
The model is discussed
extensively as the economically appropriate methodology.
Child Support Guidelines – No Economic Basis: Facts for a
Constitutional Challenge?” State Bar of Georgia, Family
Law Section Newsletter, July/August 2000, pp. 14-23.
Georgia’s original child support guidelines – which
rose as a share of net income – conflict with all economic
studies on child costs. It also conflicts with the underlying
study from Wisconsin on which it is allegedly based.
Such presumptive awards result in large financial
windfalls to the custodial parent and extraordinary burdens for
non-custodial parents. A significant portion of the windfall for
the custodial parent is tax offsets given entirely to the custodial
parent rather than shared, although child costs are a joint statutory
Use of obligor-only percentages also means
that the presumptive award does not account for family income. For
low-income obligors, Georgia's presumptive awards push the obligor
below the poverty level.
Report of the Georgia Commission on Child Support, submitted to
Georgia Governor Zell Miller, July 1, 1998.
The Georgia Commission on Child Support convened on February 13,
1998, after appointment by Governor Zell Miller in December 1997,
to review of Georgia’s child support guidelines: that they
are in compliance with Title 45 of Code of Federal Regulations,
All three economic experts directly or
indirectly stated that Georgia’s presumptive guidelines are
excessive at moderately high and high-income levels. Experts testified
that there are no economic studies that show that child costs rise
as a percentage of after-tax income, as do Georgia’s.
Despite this, and other evidence of non-compliance,
the full Commission recommended continuing with the existing guildelines.
This is the minority report of the Commission to the Governor.