Melson formula.Family law. A method of calculating a noncustodial parent’s child-support obligation to ensure that (1) neither parent falls below the poverty level in meeting child-support obligations, and (2) a child of a wealthier noncustodial parent shares in that parent’s higher standard of living. • Named for Judge Elwood F. Melson of Delaware Family Court, the formula has been adopted in several states, such as Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, and West Virginia. The formula works as follows. A self-support reserve is first deducted from the parent-obligor’s net income. Next, a primary support amount per child is calculated at an established subsistence level, added to actual work-related child-care expenses, and allocated between the parents. After deducting the support obligor’s self-support reserve and pro rata share of the child’s adjusted primary support amount, a percentage of the obligor’s remaining income is allocated to additional child support as a cost-of-living adjustment. Total child support is determined by adding together the noncustodial parent’s share of primary support and the standard-of-living allowance.

[Blacks Law 8th]