Do I Have To Pay Child Support If I Have Joint Custody?

The formula that a court will use to determine the amount of child support that you have to pay will depend on a variety of factors. One of these factors is, generally speaking, which parent has custody of the child. Typically, the non-custodial parent is the one that will be paying child support to the custodial parent. However, in the case of joint custody, the situation is not quite so cut and dried.

Joint custody can mean different things in different states, and in different cases. For example, in some states a child that is in joint custody may spend as little as a third of his or her time with one parent, and the rest with the other parent. In other states, this is generally supposed to be much closer to half of the time for each. Often, child support payments are based, at least in part, by the exact distribution of time that the child spends with each parent. For example, if a child spends 40% of his time with his mother and 60% of his time with his father, it is possible that the mother would actually have to pay a certain amount of child support. This makes up for the disparity between the actual 40% time factor and the 50% of the financial responsibility that the parent shares for the child.

Having said all of that, again, there are other factors that go into figuring out whether you will have to pay child support. The child support guidelines in most states indicate that the court is to look at the actual income of the parents as a factor into determining what exactly that parent should be paying for child support, even if they have joint custody. In addition, there are specific guidelines about which parent is able to claim the child or children as dependants, based in part on factors like custody and the amount of child support that each parent is paying.

An attorney who has experience in child support and custody cases may be able to provide you with information that is more specific to your state or to your situation.


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