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Published Studies
Congressional Testimony and Research
By R. Mark Rogers


National  

Use of the "Intact Family" standard in Income Shares child cost tables. [PDF]
The Income Shares child cost tables are based on married family data. The problems with this, and alternatives, are discussed.

Child Cost Economics and Litigation Issues: An Introduction to Applying Cost Shares Child Support Guidelines, by R. Mark Rogers and Donald J. Bieniewicz. [PDF]
The defining paper on Cost Shares. A full explanation of the need for an guideline based on economics and how to provide one. Thirty-seven pages, presented at the Southern Economic Association meeting in metro Washington, D.C. on Nov. 12, 2000.

Documenting 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)

Testimony 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]

“Wisconsin-Style 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 income situations. 

How Wisconsin-Style Child Support Guidelines Violate Mainstream Economic Theory and Empirical Research: Georgia as an Example [PDF]
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.

The “Cost Shares” Child Support Guideline: A Working, Superior Alternative To Current Guidelines [PDF]
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 methodology.

The “COSTShares” Child Support Guideline: Application, Updates, and Policy Issues [PDF]
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 Go to top of page

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.

Economic Exhibits: Why Georgia's Child Support Guidelines Are Unconstitutional, October 29, 2001 [PDF]
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.

Testimony before the 2001 Georgia Commission on Child Support [PDF]
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.

“Georgia’s 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. PDF
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 obligation.
     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.

Minority Report of the Georgia Commission on Child Support, submitted to Georgia Governor Zell Miller, July 1, 1998. [PDF]
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, Section 302.56.
     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.

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