In Season 4's "Know Your Place" episode, Detective Shakima "Kima" Greggs got a raise at work after going from an undercover detective to working in the homicide department. One of her paychecks was $2,521.53, and Sergeant Jay Landsman was unenthused by her goal with overtime earnings: to pay down debt.
This episode raised an unpopular reminder about women and child support, in the LGBT community and otherwise. While Detective James "Jimmy" McNulty hemmed and hawed about his own child support payments to his wife, Elena McNulty, both detectives admitted that they'd gotten behind in payments due to their own salaries.
Although Kima was no longer with Cheryl, who was in another relationship, the deal when they were dating was that they'd have a child carried by Cheryl.
Kima even put her foot down about Cheryl not having traditional sex in order to be impregnated. And even when Kima cheated on her significant other and worried that family life wasn't for her, she still came back around to try to take care of their child, Elijah. (Why she was called "Aunt Kima" instead of "Mom" is still a mystery.)
But how much was the three months that Kima handed Cheryl for child support? Turns out it was a sufficient amount for the average amount of child support, with some money left over for her own bills.
According to the Census, in 2012, the average amount of child support is $430 monthly, totaling $5,150 per year. However, child support tends to be more for men than women, with women paying 15 percent of child support at $3,500 while men pay 85 percent at $5,450.
With women on average making a lower salary than men, the child support amount may be affected.
So is $430 a low number? Depends on the parents and the upbringing.
The United States Department of Agriculture reports that the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is $161,220 for a single household ($8,956 per year) and $173,490 for a two-parent household ($9,638 per year).
From the ages of 11 through 17, the rate of child expenses increased more. For a two-parent household, the highest amount for raising one child was at age 17 ($18,380). But for a single-parent household, the highest amount was at age 14 ($12,460).
In states like Illinois, child support is calculated by the net income of the parents and the number of children the payer is responsible for. For one child, that is 20 percent, according to Child Support Illinois.
Click here for an estimate of child support payments due in Maryland.
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