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Child Custody | Family

Is There Child Support In Joint Custody?

5 min read
Philip Ahn, Attorney

by Philip Ahn, Attorney

Child support is still mandatory in joint custody arrangements, but the amount and who pays may vary based on income, parenting time, and custody arrangements. In joint physical custody arrangements, both parents may share roughly equal parenting time and responsibilities, reducing child support obligations for the non-custodial parent. However, if there is a significant income disparity between the two parents, the higher-earning parent may still be required to pay child support. Ultimately, the court will determine the appropriate amount of kid support to be paid based on each case’s specific circumstances, with the child’s best interests in mind.

Child Support Obligation

Child support is a payment made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to assist in the financial care of their child. In joint custody, both parents may share physical custody of the child.

However, the non-custodial parent may still be obligated to pay child support if there is a significant difference in income between the two parents.

Child support obligations are determined based on state guidelines, which consider factors such as each parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent in joint physical custody.

Determining Child Support Payments

Determining child support payments involves various factors, including:

  • Income
  • Number of children and
  • Custody arrangements

Calculating child support can vary by state but typically consists of guidelines and formulas. It’s essential to understand how child support is determined and to consult with a lawyer or a family law facilitator to ensure that child support obligations are correctly calculated and paid.

Legal Child Custody

Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make significant decisions regarding their child’s upbringing, such as education and medical care. In joint custody, both parents have legal custody, and decisions must be made jointly.

If only one parent has legal custody, they have the final say in major decisions, even if the child spends equal time with both parents.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis. In a joint custody arrangement, both parents share physical custody, which means the child spends significant time with each parent.

However, in some cases, one parent may have sole physical custody, meaning the child primarily lives with that parent, and the other parent may have visitation rights.

The determination of physical custody depends on various factors, including:

  • The child’s age
  • The parents’ work schedules or time spent with the minor
  • A parent’s history of domestic violence or substance abuse and
  • The child’s relationship with each parent

Income Shares Model In Child Support Payments

The income shares model is a popular method of determining child support payments. Under this model, the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation is calculated based on a percentage of their income, as well as the income of the custodial parent.

This considers both parents’ financial resources to support the child adequately. The child support payment may also be adjusted for additional expenses such as:

  • Childcare
  • Health insurance and
  • Education.

Self-employment income is also taken into consideration in the child support calculations.

Percentage Of Income Model

The Percentage of Income Model is one of the most widely used income models in child support calculations. In this model, the amount of child support paid is based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income.

Key factors in this model include the income of both parents and the amount of time each parent spends with the minor. Other factors, such as self-employment income and other sources of income, may also be considered in the child support calculation.

Ultimately, the child support owed and paid will depend on the specific circumstances of each co-parent and their child custody arrangement.

Modifying Support Obligations In Joint Custody Arrangements

Modifying child support obligations in joint custody arrangements can be complex, especially if the parents’ financial situations change. If one parent experiences a significant change in income, they may need to pay more or less child support.

Child care costs and other child-related expenses may also impact child support orders. Ultimately, determining support in joint custody arrangements will depend on the specific circumstances of each parent and the child involved.

Does One Pay Child Support In A Joint Custody FAQs

Suppose you have questions about whether you need to pay child support in a joint custody situation. In that case, an attorney has answered common queries that may provide helpful information about your legal rights.

What Is The Process For Determining Who Pays Child Support In Joint Custody Arrangements?

When parents have joint legal custody of their child, child support is determined based on state guidelines and the income of both parents. The court will consider the basic support obligation and additional expenses such as child care and medical costs.

If one parent makes significantly more money than the other, they may be required to pay child support to the other parent. Ultimately, determining who pays child support in joint custody varies depending on the specific circumstances of each case and the laws of the state in which the case is being heard.

Is It Necessary To Pay Child Support When Both Parents Share Parenting Time?

Even if both parents share parenting time, child support is still required in joint custody plans. The amount of child support determined may be influenced by various factors, including the time each parent spends with the minor and their income levels.

If child support issues arise, it may be helpful to seek legal assistance, especially if one parent has sole legal custody or is required to pay significantly more money in kid support than the other.

Engage An Unbundled Family Law Attorney If Unsure Whether You Must Pay Child Support

Hiring an unbundled family law attorney may be a good idea if you are uncertain whether you must pay child support.

A family law attorney can provide legal guidance on your specific child custody and support matters. This way, you can save on legal fees while receiving the necessary legal assistance.

The legal fees an unbundled attorney charges are affordable and typically fall within the range of $500 to $1500. In comparison, a usual lawyer may charge $5000 or higher.

Unbundled legal services can be beneficial if you only need a lawyer to assist with specific aspects of your case, even though they may not be appropriate for all cases. If your case is more complex and you 

Contact a family law attorney to protect your child’s custody rights.

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