- Developed by Dr. Robert Williams at the Institute for Court Management of the National Center for State Courts under the 1984-1987 Child Support Guidelines Project. It was later recommended as one of the two methods (Melson is the other one).
- Dr. Williams used the term “shares” to indicate the child’s rightful claim on parental income.
- Here are the steps to calculate:
- 1. Combine both parents income
- 2. Find the child support obligation using the combined income and number of children
- 3. Determine each parent’s percentage of total combined income
- 4. Pro-rate the obligation for each parent by their percentage.
- Income Shares is the most popular model, used by forty states (See Guidelines Models – By States).
- Uses Continuity of Parental Expenditures approach.
- From the onset, Income Shares has received continuous criticism which focuses on four major themes:
- Income Shares goes well beyond the original intent of the law. States have been misled into believing that they needed to adopt Income Shares in order to remain in compliance.
- Dr. Robert Williams, through his connections at OCSE, has personally profited by providing consulting and other services to the states through his company.
- Income Shares assumes that there are no negative consequences for paying too much support.
- Income Shares uses data from intact (two-parent) households that ignore the economic reality that there are two households post-divorce, not one.
- While it is a noble goal that children should not bear a disproportionate amount of the reduced standard of living when their parents’ divorce, the reality is that it is unfair in low and high-middle income families. For low-income families, this approach impoverishes non-custodial parents who cannot pay support and be self-sufficient. For high-middle income families, child support often becomes spousal support as the custodial parent makes as much or more than the non-custodial parent. In my case, my ex-spouse made $110,000 a year. I made $90,000 a year. My $1,000 a month child support checks provided the necessary income to support the child without the contribution of the ex.