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To raise a child, parents must cover many unique costs

Different states have different criteria that they apply to determine how much child support a noncustodial parent should be required to pay should a court determine such an award is necessary. In New York, many factors can influence how much money passes from parent to child through this legal obligation. For individuals who are curious to know how their child support obligations compare to the actual cost of raising a child, the United States Department of Agriculture offers an interesting online tool.

The USDA Cost of Raising a Child calculator asks an individual to provide responses for a few questions. The inquiries cover how many children the individual has and the ages of those children, whether the children live in a one or two parent home, the annual income of the household in which the kids live, and the geographic region in which the children's home is located. Based on the answers to those questions, the calculator provides a generalized figure that accounts for child rearing costs like food, shelter, child care, transportation and others.

For example, according to the USDA calculator, it could cost over $18,000 per year for two parents earning a combined $80,000 annually to raise a 5-year-old child in the Northeast region in which New York is situated. This figure may be high or low depending upon the actual needs of the child and the cost of living in the community where the child lives, but it does offer an idea of just how costly child rearing can be.

Every child is different and the tool introduced in this post should not be used as the exclusive method of determining how much money it may take to raise a child. New York courts utilize a detailed list of factors to determine how much child support a child should receive so that their best interests are met. Individuals who have specific questions about child support are encouraged to contact a family law attorney.

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