A Case for Child Support When Parents Have 50/50 Custody

Child custody and child support prompt plenty of questions. Decisions surrounding the children are one of the most important parts of divorce and tend to cause the most conflict. We heard this excellent question recently at our Raleigh divorce workshop. Because it’s a frequently asked question, we thought we’d share the answer.

Photo by jridgewayphotography

Q: If the parents have 50/50 custody, can one parent be required to pay child support to the other parent?

Yes. That answer may seem puzzling because the amount of physical custody can affect the amount of child support. Let’s explain. First, physical custody is where the child spends his or her time. Parents who split custody 50/50 each get to have the child in their home for half the year, though specific arrangements will vary based on your living situations.  

In cases where children split time evenly between parents, support is determined by income. If one parent earns more money than the other parent, he or she will likely have to make some payments. Child support is calculated in different ways, varying by state and even by county. In Wake County, North Carolina, you can estimate child support with the child support calculator. You’ll see different versions based on whether you have primary custody, joint/shared custody, or split custody. That can be confusing, so be sure to speak to your attorney about your options and what to expect.

Questions about divorce? Register for our next workshop, during which you can directly ask questions of an attorney, a therapist, and a financial adviser.

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