How Does Shared Child Custody Affect Child Support?

Interviewer: How does custody affect child support? If each parent has 50% custody, does child support get cut in half? How does that work?

Tanya: It does not get cut in half. Again, it is a factor of the guidelines. It depends. Oftentimes, if the parties’ incomes are equal or close to equal, then obviously the amount of child support going back and forth might be very small. If the income is significantly different, then there will still be a child support factor.

Interviewer: Is it offset by the paying spouses who have custody of the kids for a certain percent of time?

Tanya: Yes. In the guidelines, one of the questions is: How many overnights are there? Yes, it gets offset because both parents now are spending money on food and all these other expenses. But just because there is 50/50 custody, it does not mean that the child support goes away if one person is earning a lot more than the other.

Interviewer: Who does the paying spouse pay? Do they pay directly to the other spouse, or do they pay the court for both alimony and child support?

Tanya: That depends also. If people have a reasonably good relationship, I would say payments are usually done directly; or through an automatic funds transfer for a bank account. Otherwise, if there is a question about the reliability of payments or keeping track of payments, then you pay through what is called probation in the court system. Either you send a check to probation or it is garnished out of your wages.