Alternative formulas for distributing parental incomes at divorce

Kathrine C. Daniels, Kathryn D. Rettig, Robert DelMas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The current study applied five formulas for distributing parental incomes at divorce to 414 court case records in Minnesota and evaluated which formulas and actual court orders provided sufficient incomes for male and female-headed households. The study further explored influences of pre-divorce gross income levels, household/genders, and lengths of marriage on the post-divorce income-to-needs ratios (ITN) produced by the five formulas and actual court orders, using MANOVA. Results were interpreted using distributive justice principles of equity, needs, and contributions. Males have higher ITN with each alternative, except the income-sharing formula. The actual court orders and the income-sharing formula produce the largest discrepancy between male and female ITN and the highest percentage of females living below poverty level guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-26
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper originated from Kathrine Daniels’ doctoral dissertation entitled, alternative strategies of dissolving the economic partnership of marriage. Further, the research was funded by a grant from The McKnight Foundation to the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and a subcontract to the University of Minnesota Department of Family Social Science. Additional support was provided through a grant from The University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs’ Faculty Interactive Research Program, as well as a project grant from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, Project 53–054, Decision-Making Integral to Relationship Transitions in Families, Kathryn D. Rettig, Principal Investigator.


  • Divorce
  • Income distributions
  • Spousal support


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