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Montana Child Support
Base Formula: Melson, a hybrid between Income Shares and Percentage of Obligor. (For explanation see Income Shares Model.)

Calculators for Presumptive Award
    [Links on this page are for information only. Guideline Economics does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of other’s on-line calculators.
Note: Presumptive amounts are awarded only if uncontested. For ideas on contesting a child support amount, see Presenting Your Case.]

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Articles and Analysis
  Child Support Primer [PDF]
Montana’s Child Support Enforcement Division developed a “primer” for participants in its 2004 child support guideline review. This document is largely objective and gives historical background for states adopting presumptive child support guidelines. Also provided are descriptions of alternative guidelines, their strong points and apparent economic flaws. Good reading for those needing basic information about alternative guidelines.

Notes on The Primer from R. Mark Rogers
This Montana child support guideline primer is very good overall. I did find a few minor errors – which can be expected in a document this comprehensive, attempting to simplify very technical material, and reliant upon a variety of sources.
    On page 6, the statement that half the Wisconsin-style states use fixed percentages and half use a percentage that varies by income is incorrect. There may be confusion over the fact that half of obligor-only states apply their fixed percentages to gross income, and a little over half apply them to net income. Only two states that are obligor-only use percentages that vary with income: Arkansas and North Dakota. This is discussed in Venohr and Williams, "The Implementation and Periodic Review of State Child Support Guidelines," Family Law Quarterly, Spring 1999, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 7-38.
    Additionally, there is some discussion of Cost Shares’ use of USDA data that is not quite correct. Cost Shares specifically does not rely upon the per capita costs from the USDA. Some USDA components are per capita and some are not. Cost Shares removes the per capita housing component from USDA data and substitutes the marginal housing costs for children from the Department of the Interior. For other USDA components that are per capita (transportation and miscellaneous), husband-wife data are substituted as a proxy for marginal costs for single parent households. These data act as a proxy for marginal child costs. They are corroborated as reasonable based on standard of living analysis on Cost Shares as published in “Child Support Guidelines: Underlying Methodologies, Assumptions, and the Impact on Standards of Living,” R. Mark Rogers and Donald J. Bieniewicz, Conference on the Law and Economics of Child Support Payments, University of California, Santa Barbara, September 20, 2002. Publication scheduled in The Law and Economics of Child Support Payments, William S. Comanor, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing, fall 2004.
    The Smith v. Smith case in Oregon would be a good reference for the page 2 discussion on the little consideration given to applying welfare recovery formulas to non-welfare cases. This case was critical of a suggestion to apply a welfare guideline to non-welfare cases and indicated how child costs should be allocated to reflect a standard of equal duty of support. Smith v. Smith, 626 P.2d 342 (Or. 1981).
    Again, this Montana document is well written, substantially objective, simplifies key issues, and provides excellent background material for those being introduced to child support guideline issues.

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