If You Have Joint Custody Who Pays Child Support?

Laura E. Shapiro -

Child Holding Hands With Parents walking down the street

Each parent has an obligation to pay child support. However, in cases that involve shared physical custody, who pays child support? In most instances, both parents must still pay their share of support, even if they share physical custody of their children.

In instances where each parent earns almost the same amount of income, it is possible that neither parent has to pay child support to each other. However, parents will have to decide between themselves on how much extra out-of-pocket expenses each will pay for their children.

For help understanding how child custody impacts support payments, contact Shapiro Family Law at 303-695-0200 today.

Why Do I Need to Pay Child Support If I Have Shared Physical Custody of My Children?

Colorado’s child support guidelines provide that even parents who keep their children for more than 92 overnights each year must contribute to their children’s expenses, in addition to paying basic child support.

Additionally, the Court can order child support payments in cases of shared physical custody.

Child Support is based on combined joint income, therefore support depends on each parent’s earnings and the number of overnights they share with the children.

How Is Child Support Calculated in Joint Custody Cases?

Calculating child support is calculated based upon a formula, unless your incomes exceed the uppermost limits of those guidelines. While the Court provides worksheets with instructions on how to calculate child support-and even provides a software application to assist you-you can make mistakes in totaling your amount.

Shapiro Family Law can help you with this process. Our family law attorneys will tell you what financial information you will need, help you calculate your child support obligation, and determine how much child support you could get. We help parents throughout Colorado with their child support and other family law issues.

Does Shared Physical Custody Change My Basic Child Support Payments?

Yes. If a parent has more than 92 overnights, child support decrease. Child support is designed to meet basic needs such as:

  • Food;
  • Shelter;
  • Clothing; and

Extra expenses paid out of pocket are generally shared in proportion to your combined income.

In shared physical custody cases, basic child support payments are adjusted when the non-residential parent keeps the children more than 92 nights a year. As non-residential parent increases the time spent with their children, their monthly child support payment amount decreases.

If you are a non-residential parent, contact Shapiro Family Law. We can help you calculate your child support adjustment if you have increased the number of overnight stays your children have with you.

How Will a Change in My Income Affect My Joint Responsibilities?

If you keep your children fewer than 92 overnights, then you will not receive credit for overnight stays. However, you may still be still responsible for paying child support to the other parent. If you cannot pay your initial amount of child support because of some unforeseen circumstance, you can ask the Court for a support modification to change the amount of your monthly payments.

When a parent loses a job or falls ill and can no longer work as they once did, that parent can ask the court for a modification of their child support obligations. Conversely, when one parent’s income increases, the other parent may ask for a modification to reflect the earnings increase.

Our law firm can help you if you need to modify your child support payments.

How Is Child Support Calculated for Parents?

The Courts use an “Income Shares Model,” which combines a portion of each parent’s monthly adjusted gross income. The model allows children to receive a share of income from both parents.

Several factors impact how child support is determined for each parent. The Court will consider:

  • The financial resources of the custodial parent;
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if their parents had not gotten a divorce;
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child and their educational needs; and
  • The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent.

Expenses that are added on and paid in proportion to income are those such as health insurance, day care expenses, school expenses, special medical treatments etc.

How Can I Get Answers to My Questions About Child Support?

Shapiro Family Law understands the difficult decisions parents make in child support cases and other family law matters. Our attorneys are here to answer your questions and help with your concerns.

Call us today at 303-695-0200 to schedule an appointment.

Laura E. Shapiro

Laura Shapiro is an award-winning Family Law Attorney with 40+ years of experience. Laura practices Family Law exclusively with her primary focus being divorce and child custody matters.

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