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Does Child Custody Effect Child Support?

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Child Support

In a divorce, people are often blinded by their sense of fairness. It’s easy to forget pragmatic, legal concerns when you are worried about whether you’re being mistreated.

This is often the case with child custody and child support. People assume that anything regarding the children is related. If they don’t have custody, then they are offended by the idea of paying for support.

It’s important to remember that the two issues are separate. Child custody is about spending time with the children. It is focused on the emotional health of both the parent and the child. Child support is a strictly logistical concern. It is about keeping the kids fed and clothed, period.

Here is a broad look at the ways custody and support are and are not connected.

The Impact of Child Custody on Child Support

You should always remember that both parents pay for child support. The parent with primary custody spends money directly on the children. They are with the kids every day, paying for their food, health, clothing, entertainment, and so on. The non-custodial parent helps supplement this expense. A child support ruling considers each parent’s income in relation to the financial needs of the kids.

This system works both ways. The more time you spend with the kids, the more you will spend on them. Therefore, any amount of custody you have, no matter how small, should lower your overall child support payments.

This lowered payment does not, however, apply to visitation. Visitation is a separate issue. It is limited time you spend with the kids, which is not the same as custody. Custody is having the kids for an extended period, even if it's for just one weekend a month.

What to Do If You’re Falling Behind

Child support should not leave you struggling. In fact, it shouldn’t cost much more than it would if you were living with the children.

If you have experienced a major life change, you can request a child support modification. This is also true for changes in the other parent’s life.

Changes that justify child support adjustments include:

  • Changes in Income
    If you, through no fault of your own, were laid off or demoted, you could be eligible for adjustment. Likewise, if the co-parent makes more money, your payments could be lowered. This standard also applies if an injury or another similar situation leaves you unable to work.
  • Having a New Baby
    Child support is based on your total number of children, regardless of whether you have multiple co-parents.
  • Changes in Custody
    As mentioned above, the more time you have with the kids, the less you should be spending on child support. If your percentage of custody has changed, and you have the kids more often, you can plead for a modification to your payments.

If you have questions or concerns about your child support obligations, contact the Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. today. We can review your situation and help you negotiate a fair agreement. If necessary, we can represent you in court. For a free consultation, fill out our online contact form or call us now at (904) 701-0591**Consultation fees may apply to family law consultations.