General

Can a parent have joint custody but still be required to pay child support?

Custody Determinations

There are two types of custody, legal and physical. Legal custody is the right of a parent to make the decisions about the child’s welfare. Physical custody is the parent who has primary possession of the child. One parent may have sole custody, while the other has joint custody. If a parent with joint custody still has to pay child support, it is usually someone who has joint physical custody. Parents of this nature are concerned about whether they will be required to pay child support even if they only have half the child.

Many states do not require that a child lives with both parents at the same time. Joint physical custody is granted to a parent who spends 123 or 128 nights with the child in some states.

Support for Children

Contrary to custody determinations states use different models to determine how much it costs to raise a child. Then, the state splits the obligation among the parents. In most states, the amount of support is determined by a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent or a portion of their income relative to the total income of both parents. When determining the amount of support, child support guidelines will often consider how much time a child spends spending with each parent. Some states have a rule that the financial obligations of a parent who spends more time with their child are lower if they are spending more. Because the parent will have to incur additional expenses while he/she is with the child, this is a common rule in some states. In most cases, child support in joint custody situations will be less than that in cases in which one parent has primary custody.

Calculating Child Support Amounts

Child support can be adjusted to reflect the amount of time that a parent spends with their child. This will reduce the support obligation if parenting time is increased. Child support obligations also consider other factors, such as the expected cost of raising a child, income of each parent, child’s needs, and ability to pay. Child support is not necessary if both parents have the same incomes and spend half the time with the child. This is not the usual way custody works. Even if each parent has half the time with the child, the parent with more income is still responsible for child support.

How joint custody affects the Income shares model

The income shares model is used in most states to determine child support. The income shares model uses the incomes of both parents to calculate the support obligation. This then assigns the support between the parents. If one parent earns $50,000 per year while the other earns $100,000, then the first parent will earn one-third of the combined income amount, while the second parent will earn two-thirds. The support obligation for one child would be $3,125 per month. A spouse earning $100,000 would pay the other third, or $2,094. This could be the amount that a non-custodial parent might have to pay. If the parent has joint custody, however, the support amount may be lower because the parent provides food, shelter, and utilities while the child is there.

How the Percentage Income Model Affects Child Support

The percentage of income model is used in ten states and Washington, D.C. This model does not consider the income of the parent paying support. These states have a set percentage that the parent who is paying support must pay out of their income. The amount of time that the parent who is paying support spends with their children affects the percentage. Other states, however, do not consider the time the parent spends with their children when calculating child support.

Legal assistance

It can be difficult to determine child support or custody. A family law surrey bc might be able to assist.

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