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Joint Custody and Child Support: Who Pays Who?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2020 | Child Custody, Child Support

When parents are awarded joint custody in Orange County California divorces, child support can be tricky. The legalese and extensive negotiations can seem complex. Parents can spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not their child support order is fair and makes sense in their situation. When considering child support, it’s best to understand the underlying reasoning behind the court’s considerations. How does child support work when you have joint custody of the children? How can you be sure that once the divorce is final, your child will be provided with everything they need to be healthy and successful?

Obtaining Joint Custody in Orange County California:

When negotiating custody, three main elements must be addressed: parenting time, legal custody, and physical custody. Each of the three components should be considered separately when coming to a custody agreement after a divorce is filed. Obtaining joint legal custody means that both parents would have the right to be involved in the child’s religious, educational, medical, etc. decision-making.

Obtaining joint physical custody and equal parenting time keeps the playing field fair if you ever have to go back to court. For instance, to negotiate child support or visitation. Seeking joint physical custody and (at least) 50% parenting time is the best way to position yourself to protect your time with your children. Most experts agree that equal time with both parents is what’s best for children. It’s often more beneficial for the parents, too. With equal parenting time, neither parent has an excessive burden due to unequal parenting time or extreme child support due to minimal time with the children.

When Parents Have Joint Custody, Who Pays Child Support?

When one parent is awarded sole custody of a child, it’s expected that the non-custodial co-parent be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. But when joint custody is awarded, the child is considered to have two custodial parents, which leaves many confused as to who pays who child support. In most cases, the parent who has the higher income pays support to the parent with the lower income. Other factors are considered as well, including the amount of time each parent spends with the child, relevant tax factors, how many children are living in the home and their ages, educational and childcare needs, any special needs, maintenance expenses for the home/s, etc.

If you have questions about how Orange County, California determines child support when parents have joint custody, please don’t hesitate to call The Maggio Law Firm — experienced family law attorneys are standing by to assist you with your child custody case.