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States’ Child Support Guidelines for Children with Disabilities

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.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Guidelines, Orders & Payments


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