Puja Sachdev | January 17, 2023 | Child Support
Parents are responsible for the care and upkeep of their children, regardless of their living arrangements. In other words, you continue to be financially responsible for your child even though you do not live with them. The same also applies when you share 50/50 custody with your former spouse. Continue reading to learn about when child support may be awarded despite equal custody.
Joint Custody Is Encouraged by California Courts
Typically, children benefit from having both parents play an active and continuing role in their lives. The need to have an ongoing, close relationship with your child continues even though you and your child’s other parent might divorce or separate.
Therefore, California courts encourage parents to develop a parenting plan that gives each parent ample time with their child. The courts encourage parents to actively participate in their children’s lives by sharing physical and legal custody of their children.
However, child support and child custody are two separate matters. For example, you cannot deny visitation with your child’s other parent because the parent falls behind on child support payments.
The time your child spends with you is one factor used to calculate child support obligations. However, it is not the only factor.
Therefore, you could pay child support to your ex-partner even though you share joint custody of your child.
Child Support Obligations When You Share Custody 50/50 in California
It is possible to pay child support even though you share physical custody of your child equally with their other parent. If time were the only factor in child support cases, then parents who have their children 50% of the time would not owe the other parent support payments.
However, physical custody is just one factor used when calculating child support payments. Other factors the court considers include, but are not limited to:
- A child’s needs
- Each parent’s income and earning potential
- The education and child care costs for the child
- Each parent’s assets, debts, and liabilities
- Each parent’s tax filing status
- Physical custody and parenting plans
- Health insurance premiums and cost of healthcare
- The number and ages of children living in the home
- Child support payments received by a parent for other children
A parent who earns substantially more than the other parent should expect to pay child support payments even though they share custody 50/50.
Requiring a parent earning less money to pay 50% of the child’s financial needs places a higher burden on the parent earning the lower income. The parent earning a higher income has the ability to pay more of the total child support obligation. The child support guidelines are designed to calculate a fair amount of child support for each parent.
California’s Child Support Guidelines and Shared Custody
California uses a Statewide Uniform Guideline for calculating child support obligations. The guideline provides a standard formula for calculating the amount of child support obligation in a case.
The child support formula uses the following data to calculate the child support amount:
- Each parent’s gross income
- The higher-earning parent’s disposable income
- The percentage of time the higher-earning parent has physical custody of the child
- The total monthly disposable income of both parents
As stated above, the judge can consider other factors when determining the amount of child support in a custody case. Therefore, the judge begins with the base child support amount according to the child support guidelines. Then, the judge might add to that amount if the child has special needs, for example.
The child support calculator is designed to create a fair method for determining child support payments. However, that is not always the case. There could be other factors to consider.
An experienced San Diego child support attorney understands how the state’s child support guidelines work. They also understand how to present factors to the court that could increase or decrease your child support payments.
What Should I Do if My Child Support Payments Need To Change?
The courts recognize that a parent’s situation could change. For example, a parent might become disabled, or they might take a new job making substantially more money. A significant change in circumstances could justify a modification in the child support amount.
The parent wishing to change child support payments must file a motion to modify child support payments with the court. The court schedules a hearing, and both parents appear to provide evidence used to determine whether a significant change has occurred. The parent petitioning for the change has the burden of proving the child support payments need to change.
If you believe you are paying or receiving the wrong amount for child support, a San Diego child support lawyer can evaluate your situation during a complimentary consultation.
Contact Our Child Support Law Firm in San Diego, CA
San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108