Who pays child support with split custody?
Even though you and your spouse may split custody of your child 50/50, it’s possible that only one of you are required to make child support payments.
State laws govern child support payments and vary greatly depending upon which state you live.
What Is Child Support?
Child support payments are designed to cover basic needs for a child such as food, shelter, clothing, school costs, daycare costs, and club or organized extracurricular activities. They also should cover medical expenses.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
One factor in determining child support payments is the amount of time each parent spends with the child, although not in all states. However, the most common method to determine child support is income. The parent that makes the higher income pays more in child support. How child support payments are calculated also varies by state.
Income Shares Model Child Support
Some states use an income share model. The state adds your income and your spouse’s income together. Based on the percentage of income you contribute, that’s the percentage amount you pay in child support.
For example, you make $25,000 a year, and your spouse makes $50,000 a year, together you make $75,000. Your income is 33% of the $75,000. Your spouse’s income is 67% of the $75,000. You pay 33% of your child’s expenses for food, shelter, clothing, etc., and your spouse pays 67%. This rule applies no matter what percentage of the time either of you has custody.
Income Percentage Child Support
In other states, each parent is required to pay child support equal to a certain percentage of his or her income. Some states alter the percentage depending on how much parenting time each parent has with the child.
When Does a Parent Not Have to Pay Child Support?
It is possible that if both you and your spouse earn almost the same amount of income that neither of you will have to pay child support to the other parent. You can decide between yourselves how much each of you will pay toward your child’s extra expenses—expenses that fall outside of the money spent on food, clothing, and shelter.
There is No Easy Answer
As you can see, child support payments are more complicated than you might think. We recommend contacting an experienced family law attorney in your area to learn more about how child support payments are calculated in your area.