Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Barbara R. Rowe


Barbara R. Rowe


Jane McCullough


Brent Miller


The purpose of this study was to evaluate child support orders made after legislative adoption of child support guidelines by comparing them to child support orders made prior to uniform guideline adoption to determine if child support orders had increased, decreased, or remained the same; to determine if child support orders were adequately covering the cost of raising children; to determine if child support guidelines had resulted in similar treatment of comparable cases; to determine if judges/hearing officers were deviating from the guidelines; and to determine the reasons for deviation.

There was no statistically significant difference found between the mean child support order made under the legislative guidelines and the mean child support order made

prior to standardized guideline adoption. When the mean child support order made under the uniform guidelines was compared to the 1990 poverty standard, no statistically significant difference was found. However, the mean child support order under the legislative guidelines was found to be significantly less than both the 1990 USDA estimate of the cost of rearing children and Espenshade's (1984) updated estimate of expenditures on children.

No significant difference was found between the rate of compliance/noncompliance with the guidelines by judicial district. However, a statistically significant difference was found to exist between counties. Results indicate that there is still a great deal of variation in the amount of child support being ordered under standardized child support guidelines.