Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have 50/50 Custody?

In the past, it was most common for mothers to get custody of their children and for fathers to get visitation. The vast majority of the time, the father would see his children once a week and every other weekend, and he would be the one to pay child support. But in the last 20 years, a lot has changed and one of the main reasons for this is the fact that so many mothers these days are in the workforce.

With mothers and fathers working, and more mothers becoming breadwinners than ever before, the family courts have shifted their views about child custody. Nowadays, especially in California, mothers and fathers are given equal consideration when it comes to child custody. Not only that, but the courts have openly acknowledged that children do well when both parents play active roles in their lives. As a result of this shift, attorneys and family courts are advocating for joint custody arrangements more than ever.

Does Joint Custody Escape Child Support?

If you’re considering joint custody or 50/50 arrangement, you may be thinking that if you both have the kids half the time, no one will have to pay child support. Not so fast. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

If you and your spouse agree to a joint custody arrangement and you earn more money than your husband or wife, you may still be ordered by the court to pay some child support. You may also have to share the costs of childcare and uninsured medical expenses.

“Will I pay less child support if I have my children more than my ex?” is a question we hear from clients. Here’s what the California Courts says about it:

“The amount of time that the children are with you is a factor in calculating child support. And, as a general rule, the more time you have your children, the less child support you will have to pay because you are spending more money to support that child when that child is in your home. The court considers the actual amount of time you spend with the child, not just what is ordered.

“But the child support formula is complicated and it does not always work out this way. Other factors, like the other parent’s income and whether or not he or she receives public assistance, can end up making your child support the same (or even more) even if you have the children more often.”

We hope this article helped clear up some of your questions. If you would like to learn more about joint custody and child support, contact our office to schedule a consultation.