Many parents in New Jersey share joint custody of their children. Joint custody involves approximately equal parenting time and legal rights. Many parents are contemplating agreeing to share custody of their children wonder how child support works.
The Child Support Standards Act applies to many situations regarding child support but does not cover joint custody because it assigns responsibility for paying support to the non-custodial parent. State law controls how child support works in joint custody cases.
Many states do not require either parent to pay support to the other when they share approximately parenting time. Some states use formulas that take into account multiple factors like a parent's wages and the number of days a child spends with each parent to calculate child support payments.
Parents can work out an agreement regarding child support and how payments for things like school supplies and extracurricular activities will work. Courts may consider circumstances like a child's needs and the ability of each parent to maintain separate housing arrangements for the child when making a determination regarding child support.
An attorney experienced in family law may be able to assist parents who have questions about sharing child custody and child support. Many states have charts or formulas to determine child support. An attorney may be able to make arguments about why the standard formulas should not apply. For example, if a child has significant medical or educational needs and one parent's income is significantly higher than the other parent's, an attorney may be able to ask a court to order child support even in cases where the parents share equal parenting time.
It may be a good idea for parents who are considering joint custody to talk to a family law attorney and the other parent about their plans. Joint custody is appropriate when parents can work together to raise a child. It is not always a way for parents to avoid paying child support.