Joint Custody: Who Pays For Child Support?
Factors Involved In Child Support When Custody Is Shared
A lot of people think that once child custody is divided, the parent who has the majority of the time with the children will collect child support from the parent who does not have as much time with the kids. Similarly, they think that if they have joint custody – which is the default that the courts prefer – that neither party will pay child support. But if you talk to a child support attorney, you will realize that neither of things may be true.
Several factors go into determining who pays child support and how much. The primary goal is to ensure that the children in question have what they need and that they enjoy a relatively similar quality of life in the homes of each parent.
Parenting time does play a role in determining child custody. Generally, the courts will determine a base level of support for the children each month, and then that will be divided according to the amount of time that the children spend with each parent. Therefore, if one parent has the children for a greater share of the time, they would be considered to be spending a greater amount of resources on the children. For example, they would be paying more for rent, food, utilities, and so on. The other parent would then be expected to pay a little more to provide that quality of life.
When parents split equal time with the children, they are likely to have equal expenses. Other considerations may come into play, such as the cost of daycare or health insurance, which one parent may pay. Then the other parent would be required to pay a little in child support to balance that out.
Your child custody lawyer in Phoenix will help you understand how the division of time will impact child support. Even changing one or two days a week can have a big impact on how child support is allocated.
Income of Each Parent
Another big factor used to determine who pays child support and how much is the income of each parent. The courts want to ensure that children enjoy the same relative quality of life in each house. So, for example, if one parent makes $1 million per year and has the kids five days a week, but the other parent only makes $20,000 per year and has the kids two times per week, chances are good that the first parent is going to pay child support to the other.
Again, the courts are going to look at the overall child support required and will then divide that between the two parents. The division will be based on parenting time, as well as income. If you make significantly more than your co-parent, you may end up paying a bit of child support.
Generally speaking, the more you make or the less time you have with your children, the more you are likely to have to pay in child support – and vice versa. Other factors will also be considered, such as any special needs of the child, how much is being paid for health insurance, and how much is being paid for child care or camps. It is important that you present all expenses and other considerations before the court to get an accurate and fair child support order. Since there are many factors that could be overlooked or interpreted subjectively, it is important that you work with an experienced family law lawyer in Phoenix to help you make the best case to protect your interests and get the best outcome for your children.
Call My AZ Lawyers today to talk with a family law lawyer about your options for getting or modifying a child support order. Our attorneys will fight to get you a fair and just support order that meets the needs of your children, whether it is the first support order or it is modifying a current order to more accurately reflect current needs. Our family law attorneys in Phoenix can also help you with child custody issues and other matters related to your separation. We serve clients throughout Mesa, Glendale, Tucson, and Phoenix. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a family law lawyer to learn more about your options.
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