Custody and visitation can be fiercely disputed in a divorce case. Each parent may argue that the children should spend more time in their home. A parent may hesitate to share custody rights with the other parent for a variety of reasons.

California courts recognize that a child generally benefits from a close and loving relationship with both parents. Therefore, the courts encourage parents to work together to draft a parenting plan that is in everyone’s best interest. 

Timeshare custody, or “custodial timeshare,” is the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Timeshare custody or visitation is included in the parenting plan and may be tailored to the specific needs of the children and the parents. 

Your timeshare custody percentage must be accurately calculated because it directly impacts the amount of child support you are required to pay each month. 

Types of Timeshare Custody and Visitation Orders

There are several different types of visitation orders the court might issue in a divorce or child custody case. Timeshare or visitation may be based on a schedule, which helps parents and children plan activities and prevent conflicts. 

The following are a few examples of timeshare custody schedules:

  • Alternating weekends with one evening or overnight visitation during the week
  • Alternating extended weekends that run through Monday evening without another weeknight visit
  • Alternating weeks where the child spends a week at a time with a parent
  • Weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other parent

Timeshare agreements may be adapted to fit any schedule. If the parents can work together to develop a timeshare agreement, the court could grant “reasonable visitation” for the non-custodial parent. Reasonable visitation allows for more flexibility for parents with schedules that change every few weeks or months. 

The agreements also include arrangements for holidays and special events. For example, most visitation orders state that the child will spend each Father’s Day with the father and each Mother’s Day with the mother. In addition, the parents may split the child’s birthday evenly and have the child on the parent’s birthday each year.

How Does Timeshare Custody Impact Child Support Payments?

A parent is expected to support a child financially, even if the parent does not have custody of the child. California uses child support guidelines to determine how much money a parent must pay in support each month. 

Many factors impact the amount of child support you will pay each month, including:

  • Each parents’ income and resources
  • The cost of health insurance premiums
  • The number of children the parents share
  • Child support payments made for other children
  • Daycare and uncovered healthcare costs
  • A child’s special needs
  • The percentage of timeshare custody for each parent

The custody percentage is a significant factor used in determining the amount of child support payments. Calculations of child support payments are based on the amount of time the non-custodial parent spends with the child.

For example, if you alternate standard weekends with the custodial parent, your timeshare percentage would be 14.25 percent. However, if you have alternating weekends and a couple of weeks each summer and some holidays, your timeshare percentage could increase to 18.90 percent. Splitting the summer evenly could increase the percentage to 22.47 percent.

Some parents choose to split custody as evenly as possible. In those situations, the non-custodial parent may have a timeshare percentage close to 50 percent.

The lower your timeshare percentage, the higher your child support obligations. Therefore, you must calculate the timeshare custody percentage correctly. You should be given credit for all time your child spends in your home each month. 

Some courts throughout California calculate timeshare percentages down to the hour. Other courts use days as the basis for calculating timeshare percentages. 

Getting Help Developing a Parenting Plan and Timeshare Agreement

Some parents can work out custody and visitation arrangements themselves. They understand the needs of their children and themselves and can work together to ensure that their children have access to each parent.

However, some parents cannot design a custody plan because they cannot agree on the basic elements of custody. In those cases, the parents may benefit from working with child custody lawyers to help them resolve their differences. Divorce mediation may be another way for parents to work out their differences instead of litigating child custody. 

When parents can work together to decide timeshare custody issues, the arrangement is generally better than an arrangement chosen by a judge.

For more information, call our law firm at (619) 866-3756 or reach out to us via email by visiting our contact us page.