Divorce Myth #1: “I don’t have to pay child support if we have 50/50 (equal) custody.”

Written by on March 12, 2019 in Child Support, Court

The number one question we are asked by clients is why they have to pay child support if they have 50/50 (equal) custody of their children.  The myth and misconception is that if you and the other party spend the same amount of time with your children, i.e., a 50/50 custodial timeshare, then neither party has to pay child support to the other.  This is false (sometimes).

When you have children, the goal of the State is to equalize both households for the benefit of the children.  For example, it would not be fair to the children if mom lived in a mansion with all the food, expensive toys, and designer clothes they wanted and dad was renting one bedroom room from a landlord, had several roommates, and was barely making ends meet.  The extremes would not be fair to the children and they may later choose to live with the more affluent parent.

To prevent this from happening, California law requires that child support be based not only on time share, but also the incomes of the parents and a number of other factors.  To determine the appropriate amount of child support, the law sets a guideline child support formula to determine what child support should be.  A copy of the guideline child support calculator can be found here.  The calculations become more complex when you have to incorporate bonus income, commissions, overtime, etc.

Although it may be the case that child support is zero if the parents have 50/50 custody; it is not always the case.  This is why this myth is false (sometimes).

If you need any assistance with calculating these amounts, feel free to give us a call.

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