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What You Need to Know About Child Support in Joint Custody Agreements

Child support in joint custody agreements allows for, in most cases, lower payments. The father and mother of the child will be sharing the responsibility of the child. Joint custody can have a major impact on child support.

7 Facts About Child Support in Joint Custody

1. Child Support Payments Can Decrease

You still have child support obligations in joint custody agreements, but the payment amounts can decrease. The state’s child support formula should take into account the time you spend when the child when determining payment amounts.

For example, if you spend 120 days a year with the child, you may be able to have your payments lowered.

If you have 50/50 custody of the child and your monthly payments were $500 prior to the joint agreement, you may be able to have this figure reduced to $250.

2. You Can Ask the Court for a Modification of Child Support Obligations

Income situations change, and the court will allow for a modification if your income changes. Perhaps you lost your job or had your hours cut back. You can ask the court to modify the monthly payments that you make.

If you fall ill and can no longer work, a modification can also be requested.

If your income increases, the other parent can request a modification based on the earnings increase.

The court will need to overlook your financials and situation to determine if a modification is approved or not. There are times when the court may not approve a modification request, but working with an attorney can help you increase your chances of approval.

3. No Child Support is Possible When Incomes are Similar

If income levels are similar among both parents and the parenting time is equal, it’s possible that the court will rule that no child support is required. No child support is also possible if the parents came to a collaborative agreement stating that no child support is required.

The court, however, does have the right to not accept the agreement if it’s not in the best interest of the child.

In some cases, the court may determine that greater support is still needed for the child, especially when there is a difference in income.

4. Courts Will Consider Parenting Time

States will often take into account the allocation of parenting time when calculating child support. If your parenting time increases, you’re taking on the greater financial responsibility of the child. The courts will often use the number of nights that the child stays with a parent.

Child support obligations should take parenting time into account.

You may not have your obligations removed, but if you’re spending over a certain number of nights per year with your child under your roof, this should reduce the amount of child support you pay.

Child support payments are meant to be used for the care and support of the child, not to financially benefit the opposing parent.

5. Joint Legal Custody Allows You More Control Over Your Child’s Life

Joint legal custody provides you with more control over your child’s life. Children can have better overall relationships with both parents. You’ll also play a bigger role in your child’s life and can bring them to the doctor, hospital, or make medical decisions on the child’s behalf.

You’re allowed to make decisions on your child’s:

  • Health care
  • Religion
  • Education

Parents can even share legal custody when they do not share physical custody of the child. Studies are showing that joint custody is in the best interest of the child.

“A study conducted by Harvard University found that children in joint custody settings fared better than those in sole custody in the areas of depression, deviance, and school grades,” reports HG.

Sole custody is often only beneficial when one parent is abusive or suffers from substance abuse.

6. You Need to Know the Income Shares Model

The income shares model is one of two models states may use to determine child support. Using the income shares model, the court will:

  • Combine both parents’ income
  • Consider the total number of children

Courts will determine child support obligations using proportional contributions and divide the obligation between both parents.

7. You Need to Know About the Percentage of Income Model

The percentage of income model is less complex and will take into account a percentage of the parent’s monthly earnings. The percentage may rise based on the number of children. States can have:

  • Flat rate percentage models for all income levels
  • Varying percentage based on the obligor’s income level

Speak with a Family Attorney about your child custody case

You will want to discuss your child support in joint custody agreements with an experienced family attorney. An attorney will work to ensure that your joint custody agreement provides the best care for your child and a fair level of child support.