Public Intuitions about Fair Child Support Allocations: Converging Evidence for a 'Fair Shares' Rule
Sanford L. Braver
Arizona State University (ASU) - Department of Psychology
Ira Mark Ellman
Arizona State University College of Law; Arizona State University (ASU) - Department of Psychology; Center for the Study of Law and Society, Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley
Stanford Law School
June 23, 2013
7th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2110376
Nearly all American states use one of two systems for setting the amount of child support that noncustodial parents (NCPs) are required to pay to custodial parents (CPs). In previous work we found that lay judgments of the child support amount the law should require differ in meaningful ways from these two systems: Our respondents favor child support amounts that are more responsive to the NCP’s income, and much more responsive to the CP’s income, than set by either system. They also favor dollar amounts that increase more rapidly with NCP income when CP income is lower, producing a characteristic fanning lines pattern when dollar support amounts are charted against NCP income for several different CP incomes. We give the label “Fair Shares” to these two features of our respondents’ child support judgments. We describe 6 new experimental studies that vary the context of these judgments in ways that test whether the “Fair Shares” account is robust. Our studies consistently replicate the fan shaped pattern and shed further light on lay judgments. A revised version of this paper has been acceptred for publication in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Date posted: July 17, 2012 ; Last revised: November 22, 2013
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