- Molly A. Costanzo
- April 2021
- Link to CSRA-2020-2022-T11 (PDF)
Child support is an important regular source of income for many families who receive it. Given the evidence of increased incidence of childhood disability in single-parent and economically vulnerable households, child support may be a crucial financial support for custodial parents raising a child with a disability. There is very little policy research on the role of child support for children with disabilities, including different policy approaches taken by states. This report aims to provide a broad overview of states’ treatment of child support cases for custodial parent families with a child with a disability.
We reviewed child support guidelines and statutes as available in all fifty states and the District of Columbia to determine how states account for a child’s disability in setting order amounts and how states treat the provision of support beyond the age of majority due to a child’s disability. This review is supplemented with a descriptive analysis using Wisconsin Court Record Data (CRD), pooling data from eight cohorts, for a total sample of 10,590 cases. This review suggests that states generally account for a child’s disability, either explicitly or implicitly, through allowable deviations from child support guidelines. States do not prescribe how a child’s disability should affect the order amount. Findings also indicate that the most states allow for child support to continue past the age of majority for children with disabilities.