When Parents Share Custody, Who Pays Support?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Friday, January 11, 2019.

As Illinois parents know, child support is usually the responsibility of the non-custodial parent. However, while this might be simpler to establish when one parent has custody and the other parent has visitation rights, the question of how child support is paid when parents share custody is more difficult to answer.

Joint custody, or shared custody, happens when parents split legal or physical custody of the child equally. This means that parents share the responsibility of the day-to-day raising of their children. So, while the Child Support Standards Acts governs child support obligations by parents, deciding how and when child support is paid during joint custody is a separate issue, particularly since states have different regulations and formulas for establishing child support amounts. In some states, when shared custody is concerned, child support is not established. In others, the child support amount is split in half and each parent is responsible for that half, or the amount is calculated based on the number of days a child spends with a parent. There are also states where the parent who has a higher income is determined as the non-custodial parent and continues to pay child support. In some cases, the parents reach an agreement about child support payments themselves.

Parents do need to take into consideration certain conditions that can affect the financial obligations related to custody. One is that even when a child is not with a parent, things such as extra-curricular activities, housing and other expenses must still be paid. Another is that paying child support, even during joint custody, still benefits the child, providing a secure environment and an easier adjustment, adding to a child’s emotional and academic well-being.

Individuals who are negotiating child custody and support might contact a family law attorney who may be able to explain the state’s regulations and formulas and discuss the parent’s options. A lawyer might also represent the parent at court appointments.

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