21 Fam. L.Q. 281 (1987-1988)
Guidelines for Setting Levels of Child Support Orders

handle is hein.journals/famlq21 and id is 297 raw text is: Guidelines for
Setting Levels of
Child Support Orders
ROBERT G. WILLIAMS*
I. Introduction
Under the provisions of Public Law No. 98-378 (42 U.S.C. § 667),
states were required by October 1987 to develop guidelines for deter-
mining the amount of child support awards. As specified in federal
regulations, these guidelines must be made available to all judges and
other officials with the authority to establish child support awards, but
the guidelines need not be binding upon them. Implementing regulations
specify that the term guidelines does not mean criteria, but rather
refers to quantitative standards for setting child support, i.e., formulas.
45 C.F.R. § 302.56.
In response to the federal requirement, all states are adopting some
type of guideline for child support orders. States have considerable
latitude in terms of the legal status and use of guidelines. States differ
in whether they implement guidelines by statute, court rule, or admin-
istrative regulation. They also differ in the status accorded guidelines,
i.e., whether they are advisory or have rebuttable presumption status.
States vary in the income ranges covered, the factors explicitly incor-
porated into the guidelines (e.g., custodial parent income, shared phys-
ical custody arrangements, etc.), and applicability of guidelines to
modifications of orders.
Adoption of child support guidelines by a state can have a substantial
impact on the levels of child support awards and the manner in which
they are set. In this article, we summarize research on guidelines per-
*Dr. Williams is president of Policy Studies, Inc., a public policy research and con-
sulting firm and directs research for the Child Support Guidelines Project.

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