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Who pays child support when parents share joint custody?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2020 | Child Custody |

Both parents have certain parental rights. Moms and dads are entitled to visitation or custody of their children. They’re both obligated to support their son or daughter financially, though. It can be challenging for moms and dads and the court to decide who should pay child support when both parents share joint custody of a child.

The Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) came about in 2008. The CSSA uses a formula to determine a parent’s child support obligations. The CSSA provides a guideline rather than strict rules for states to follow. Laws vary considerably by jurisdiction.

CSSA recommends that judges take into account how much a parent makes and how much time each spends with their son or daughter when making child support determinations. The CSSA also urges judges to consider the child’s individual needs, whether the parent has a separate home and their everyday expenses for daycare, clothing and travel when making decisions about support.

Noncustodial parents are required to pay a portion of the child’s support based on their income, the number of children and the cost and responsibility of overnight care. How much time a child spends with their parents also plays a role in helping a judge determine how much support a mom or dad should have to pay.

The Income Shares Model is the formula that most states, including California, use to determine child support. It measures the amount of income that a parent makes and the percentage of time that the child spends in their care. The combination of these is a parent’s “responsibility.”

There are also some joint custody cases in which a mom or dad’s income may be too low that a judge doesn’t order them to pay any child support.

Splitting up is never easy for anyone. It’s difficult for couples to move from sharing household costs are child care responsibilities to having to take care of them on their own. One of the best things that parents can do if they’re facing a split is to learn more about their rights and responsibilities with regards to child custody or support.

A child custody attorney here in Pleasanton can walk you through how things work in California and advise you of what the best course of action is for you to take in your case.


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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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