Is There Child Support With Equal Shared Custody

When you share equal custody of your children in an arrangement where they are with you equally, there can still be child support. A common equal parenting schedule is Monday-Tuesday with one parent, Wednesday-Thursday with the other parent and the weekends alternate from Friday to Sunday.

So the question comes up why does one parent possibly pay child support to the other. The highest court in NY has ruled on this issue. The decision states that for purposes of child support even where there is equal parenting time the child support formula must be utilized initially. If one parent makes more than the other the same court stated that for purposes of the formula to assume that the higher earning parent is the non-custodial parent. So what that decision does is to take a parent with equal time but higher income and first calculate child support assuming that the higher incomed parent does not enjoy shared custody. The reason was that the court want to take steps to prevent a complete disparity in living conditions between the two homes.

So if parent A makes adjusted income for child support purposes of $100,000 and parent B makes $50,000 assuming that there were two unemancipated children parent A using the formula would pay $25,000 annually which is $2,083 per month. However, the child support statute states that the court may deviate from the pure calculation for other reasons and good cause. It is often argued that the equal parenting arrangement and the needs of parent A to also have sufficient income to support the two children and the fact that parent B will have less expenses due to the shared custody are reasons to deviate from the formula result. The part that is uncertain is how much of a deviation. Should the monthly support be cut by 75%, 50% or 25% is all a function of negotiations. The case law is not all that helpful as it is very fact based.

When the parents' incomes are relatively similar but not equal, often the parents will agree that neither party pays child support to the other. The parents will equally share all of the other expenses for the children including clothing, activities, party gifts, school trips, etc.

If the finances of child support are an issue, it is always best to have the guidance of an experienced matrimonial attorney who can guide you through the process and make the most effective arguments for your benefit.