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Is Child Support Still Required if Custody and Parenting Time are Shared Equally?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2020 | Child Support

A San Diego divorce which involves children has many legal and financial aspects.  A common question from our clients asks “is child support still required if custody and parenting time are shared equally?”  Recent changes in California family law and the Court’s understanding of what is in the best interest of the child have led to changes in how the Court approaches child custody and parenting time.

Today, the practical reality reflects the result of many substantial studies which show it is in the best interest of each child to spend equal quality time with their parents.  Our Family Courts are not only open to the idea of “shared parenting” but it is often the starting point if the parties appear to be capable of sharing this responsibility.

It is true that child support is somewhat associated with the amount of time the child spends in each household.  In cases where one of the parents has the majority of parenting time child support may be increased to reflect this reality.

However, the central issue at the heart of the question “is child support still required if custody and parenting time are shared equally” is the financial equity between the petitioner and the respondent.  If the couple each make relatively the same amount of money and child custody and parenting time is shared evenly there may not be a need for child support.

The requirement for child support comes out of the legal obligation of every parent to provide for the needs of each of their children.  If one party makes substantially more than the other, the California Child Support Calculator will take this into account.  It is possible for one party to owe the other child support even when parenting time is equally divided between the two.

It is even possible for a parent who has the majority of parenting time to still owe the other child support.  The Court will use the guideline calculator and its own discretion to ensure each household can support the needs of the child(ren).

Is child support still required if custody and parenting time are shared equally?  Generally speaking, yes, if there is a significant difference in the income of the two co-parents.

Each case is unique and the ultimate answer to this question will be based upon the unique circumstances of your case.

This is why it is important to protect your own interests and contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.