Why Do I Have To Pay Child Support if I Share 50/50 Custody?

Hossein Berenji, Apr 27, 2023

Generally speaking, you must provide financial support for your child, regardless of your relationship with the child’s other parent. This remains true whether you are divorced or were never married in the first place.

It also does not matter whether you are a custodial or a non-custodial parent. You are expected to pay your fair share of the child support obligation. As a result, there may be situations where you are required to pay child support even when you share 50/50 custody.

Continue reading this blog post to learn more about this scenario and what your rights and responsibilities are.

California Courts Encourage Parents To Share Custody of Their Children

Absent evidence that a parent is unfit or that shared custody would harm a child, California judges tend to grant joint custody to the parents. A child is presumed to benefit from having both parents in their lives. Joint custody allows each parent to remain an active participant in their child’s life, including making decisions that impact the child’s well-being.

However, sharing 50/50 custody in California does not mean the parents are not responsible for child support. Each parent must pay a portion of the child support obligation. Even if the parents each spend 182.5 days with their child, the timesharing arrangement is only one factor used to determine child support payments.

What Are the Child Support Obligations When Parents Share 50/50 Custody in Beverly Hills, CA?

It is possible that you could owe your ex-partner child support even though you have joint custody of your child. If the number of days a child spends with a parent was the only factor used in child support calculations, parents with 50/50 custody would not owe child support.

However, the number of overnight visits with your child is just one factor in calculating child support. Other facts the court might consider include, but are not limited to:

  • The income and earning potential of each parent
  • The details of parenting plans and timesharing schedules
  • Child support obligations for other children
  • A child’s special needs
  • The cost of healthcare and the amount of health insurance premiums
  • The tax filing status for each parent
  • The number of children being supported
  • The age of each child in the home
  • A parent’s assets, liabilities, and debts
  • The child care and education costs for the child

Typically, the parent earning a larger portion of the combined income for the parents pays child support to the other parent. The courts recognize that requiring a parent to pay 50% of the child support obligation when they earn less than 50% of the combined income could result in financial hardships. Therefore, California uses child support guidelines to calculate a fair amount for child support payments.

How Does 50/50 Custody Impact California’s Child Support Guidelines?

California’s child support guidelines provide a standard formula for determining the amount of the child support obligation parents are responsible for paying. The formula uses several pieces of information to calculate payments.

Child support payments are based on the following:

  • The amount of gross income each parent earns
  • The amount of the higher-earning parent’s disposable income
  • The total disposable monthly income of each parent
  • The percentage of time the higher-earning-parent has physical custody of the child

As discussed above, a judge can consider other factors to calculate child support payments. A judge begins with the base amount of support owed under the guidelines and then adjusts the amount based on various factors.

Using the child support calculator provided by the courts should result in a fair outcome for both parents. However, circumstances and factors can change California’s basic formula for calculating child support. Therefore, it is wise to consult with an experienced Beverly Hills child support lawyer to determine how much you should pay or receive for child support.

Can Child Support Payments Change?

The law recognizes that circumstances could change that might impact the amount of a parent’s child support obligation. For example, a child might want to live primarily with one parent. Another example would be a parent developing a disability that prevents them from working, drastically decreasing their income.

The parent seeking a modification of child support payments must file a motion with the court. They have the burden of proving:

  • Circumstances have changed that impact child support
  • The circumstances were not anticipated when the court issued the current child support order
  • The parent did not have any control over the circumstances (i.e., the parent voluntarily decided to quit working)
  • The change in circumstances is significant enough to justify changing the amount of child support

The court schedules a hearing. Each parent can present evidence supporting their allegations. Because the change in child support could substantially impact your finances, it is best to seek legal advice from a Beverly Hills child support attorney to ensure your interests are represented.

Contact a Beverly Hills Family Law Lawyer Today

If you’re going through a divorce, you need a strong team on your side fighting for your rights. Call Berenji & Associates today to know how we can assist you.

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Beverly Hills CA 90212
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