Divorce is often a long and complex process. This is especially true when children are in the picture. In California, there are two major issues you need to address regarding children and divorce: 1) child custody, and 2) child support. How does child support work with 50/50 custody? Do parents with joint custody still need to pay child support? At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can help you understand how custody and support issues work in California. Contact us today to learn more.

Understanding the Different Types of Custody

First, it's important to understand the different types of custody in California: legal custody and physical custody. Both types of custody can be held solely by one parent, jointly between both parents, or a mixture of both. Legal custody of a child means that a parent has the right to make major life decisions on the child's behalf. This can include questions concerning the child's education, religious practice or health care. Physical custody allows a parent the right to physically take care of the child. If only one parent gets awarded physical custody, then that parent holds sole responsibility in feeding and sheltering the child. However, if both parents share joint physical custody, then they both share in that responsibility. For instance, the child's time may be split between both parents, one on the weekend and one during the week. The parent with weekday custody must provide for the child during the week, and the parent with weekend custody must provide during the weekend.

The Court May Still Order Child Support Where There Is Joint Custody

As stated before, both parents must contribute to their child's welfare in joint physical custody cases. Since this responsibility is often shared equally, how does child support work with 50/50 custody? Because of the financial burden child support imposes, is it fair for one parent to pay the other even when custody is shared jointly? In short, yes, the court can still award child support payments during joint custody cases. This fact is even more true in situations where one parent has a much lower income than the other parent. Another factor that can lead to child support in 50/50 custody cases is the length of time one parent spends caring for the child. For instance, if one parent cares for the child during the week, that's a total of five days, compared to two days over the weekend. That means one parent must spend more resources to care for the child.

What Factors Will the Court Consider?

If the court determines child support must be paid, it will employ a formula that incorporates a variety of actors. Some of these factors can include the following:
  • Income or income potential of both parents (how much each parent actually makes)
  • The number of children shared between both parents
  • Whether sole or joint custody is at play
  • The length of time both parents spend caring for the child
  • Both parents tax filing status
  • (If applicable) any support received by a parent from a previous relationship
  • Costs of health insurance
  • Contributions to retirement and/or union dues
  • Costs shared by both parents for actually raising the child (e.g. health insurance or education)
  • Any other relevant factors that need addressing
Thus, in joint custody situations, the amount of time each parent spends taking care of the child will affect child support payments. If one parent takes care of the child for five days of the week, then they would need to pay less support than someone taking care of a child for two days a week. Furthermore, if a single parent holds sole custody, then the other parent will more than likely need to pay child support.

For Questions About Child Custody and Support Issues

Were you and your ex spouse awarded joint custody? Are you wondering how does child support work with 50/50 custody? Since child support often requires large monthly payments that can impact you and your child, it's important for both parties to be able to work towards an agreement or court order that honors your needs. A Fresno divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help. Contact us today or call (559)222-4891.