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If we have Shared Physical Custody, will child support be required?

By Ullian Associates of The Law Firm of Ullian & Associates, P.C. on April 3, 2015

Physical custody refers to the parent who will be primarily responsible for the day-to-day care of the child. The norm is that one parent has primary physical custody, yet some circumstances warrant both parents having shared or joint physical custody. In that situation each parent has the child approximately 50% of the time and the parents must do more co-parenting. Some parents mistakenly believe that since they have the child half of the time, they should just be responsible for the cost associated with the child while he/she is with them. In order to determine who should be paying child support and how much, the Child Support Guidelines must be applied and calculated twice.

First run the Guidelines with Parent A being the "recipient" and calculate how much Parent B would have to pay if Parent A had sole physical custody. Next run the Guidelines with Parent B being the "recipient" and calculate how much Parent A would have to pay if Parent B had sole physical custody. Then compare the two numbers. The Guideline that results in the higher amount of child support will determine who is the payor. Subtract the smaller amount from the larger amount to determine how much child support should be paid. For example if the Guidelines shows Parent A should pay Parent B $250.00 per week and that Parent B should pay Parent A $150.00 per week, the result will be that Parent A will pay child support to Parent B of $100.00 per week. This will hopefully create a situation in which both parents can afford to care for the child.

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