Child Support

Types of Child Custody and How They Affect Payments

Divorce is always a tricky and emotionally draining process. When children are involved, tensions escalate even higher. One of the things that gets discussed during divorce proceedings is money—how assets will be divided, how much alimony is due, and how much child support will be required. It can get complicated quickly, which is why it’s imperative that you hire legal help to work through the process with you. It’s also important to understand the numbers and how different arrangements can affect the financial side of things. For instance, do different types of custody arrangements result in different amounts of child support payments? The answer is yes. Here’s why.

Joint Custody

First there is joint custody. Joint custody means that both parents agree to share responsibility for any children in the family that are minors. Usually, the child lives with one of their parents most of the time and spends some time with their other parent according to the particular arrangement agreed upon during the divorce. The amount of child support to be paid depends on many factors including the percentage of time the child will be spending with each parent, the income each parent makes, and the amount of children involved. It’s impossible to give an estimated amount without understanding the details of the custody case. Generally speaking, however, the parent who only has physical responsibility for the child part of time will need to compensate the other parent for the greater amount of time they care for the child.

Shared Physical Custody

Unlike joint custody, shared physical custody means that both parents have equal amounts of responsibility regarding the child’s physical care and both spend equal amounts of time with the child. If the parents are able to come to a true shared custody agreement, where the child spends equal amounts of time in the custody of each parent, then no child support is expected because each parent is taking on the same share of financial responsibility.

Sole Custody

If one of the parents is deemed unfit to act as a responsible guardian, then sole custody might be awarded to the other parent. A parent can be seen as unfit for any number of reasons, ranging from emotional instability to reckless behavior to frequent lapses in judgment. In this kind of situation, one parent is given sole custody of the child while the other may only be granted visitation rights, as dictated by the final court ruling. This is what is known as sole physical custody. If you need to take matters further, you can also file for sole legal custody which grants the custodian parent the right to make all major decisions regarding the child without the input of the other parent. In these cases, as with all custody cases, the exact amount of child support ordered by the court will depend on many factors and will be specific to your case. However, the parent taking on custody of the child can expect to be paid by the other parent in order to maintain a certain standard of living for that child.