Handling Child Support for Joint Custody Arrangements

By Henry F. Lewis on November 26, 2020

Art project of a broken familyIn every divorce there are important matters that must be settled, such as the division of assets and debts. However, some of the most complex issues are those involving children. Parents who divorce must come to an acceptable child custody arrangement. In most divorces involving children, a joint custody arrangement is preferred by the court.

When parents share joint custody, child support expectations may be unclear. Parents often assume they cannot seek child support when they have joint custody arrangements, but that is not necessarily the case. Family law attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP can help clients from Oakland, CA and surrounding areas explore their right to child support payments.

Joint Custody Arrangements

The amount of time that a child spends with each parent after a divorce is a huge factor in determining whether child support payments are owed to one parent or the other. However, joint custody arrangements do not necessarily prevent child support payments from being ordered by the court. For one thing, there are different types of joint custody arrangements, and they don’t always mean that a child spends equal time with each parent.

Some parents have joint legal custody while one parent remains the primary physical guardian. In these situations, both parents share equally in making decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and general well-being, but the child lives with one parent the majority of the time and has visits with the other parent.

Of course, the preferred joint custody arrangement in most cases is to have parents share both legal and physical custody. When parents share joint physical custody, the child spends a significant amount of their time with each parent. This time is not always split 50/50, but it is a pretty equal division.

Can I Seek Child Support If We Share Equal Physical Custody?

It may seem obvious to our Oakland clients that they will be due child support payments if they share joint legal custody while maintaining sole physical custody. But what happens when physical custody is shared as well?

Even in situations where parents have a joint physical custody arrangement, the court may still order child support payments, it just depends on the family’s circumstances.

Child Support Considerations for Joint Custody

There are many factors that are considered when determining if child support payments will be required for parents who share joint custody. The most important considerations include:

  • The amount of time that the child is with each parent
  • Whether there are other children in each household
  • The expense of maintaining each household
  • Education and childcare needs
  • Any special medical needs of the child
  • Each parent’s income

While a lot goes into calculating child support payments in California, if one parent has a greater income than the other, they should expect to make child support payments, even if they share equal physical custody.

Schedule A Consultation

If you are going through a divorce and have questions about child custody arrangements and child support payments, the family law attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP would be happy to be of assistance. To discuss your situation with our attorneys, call our Oakland law firm at (510) 451-4822 and schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.

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Oakland Office

1939 Harrison St
Ste 210
Oakland, CA 94612

More Info Directions (510) 451-4822