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Do mothers pay child support?

Many see child support as the amount a father pays to the mother after a divorce. But times are changing, and courts may be looking past gender to focus on the math behind the matter.

A survey of divorce lawyers revealed that 45% had seen an increase in mothers being responsible for paying child support. While men were mostly the ones paying in the past, women moving into the workforce and getting higher-paying jobs means they may be the ones sending a check.

Gender-neutral notes

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that men aren’t the only ones that may have to pay ongoing support, though stay-at-home moms and income disparity have kept things lopsided. Now, as almost half of households have mom as the main moneymaker, we may see the scales move.

Deciding dividends

The parent that doesn’t have custody of the children could be responsible for helping to pay for raising them, mother or father. The real determiner could be who contributes what:

  • Supporting numbers: Mississippi has a formula for figuring out child support. The number of kids and your gross income are tossed together to determine how much you should pay.
  • Higher income: If you make over $100,000 per year, the courts may take a second look. They can say the math works out, or they could require you to pay a little extra.
  • Special cases: There may be situations where you don’t have to pay as much. If you spend enough time with the children or cover enough expenses, the state may see that as a contribution toward the overall support.

Gender doesn’t directly come into play for child support, but plenty of other factors can. Custody, money and responsibilities can all shift the balance. Make sure you know what goes into the calculations, and you may have a better shot at planning for the outcome.


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