Kevin Qualls Family Law
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How does child support work if we share custody?

A popular trend both in Orange County, California, and throughout the rest of the country is for parents who do not live in the same homes to agree to each have their children half of the time. Indeed, a California parent can probably see how, in most cases, it is healthy for a child in most cases to see each of their parents as much as possible and to be able to watch their parents get along.

Nevertheless, California parents should be aware that the fact they share time equally with the other parent does not mean that they will either pay no child support or the child support obligations will offset. In fact, one parent may still wind up paying the other parent support.

The reason for this is that child support in California gets calculated based on each parent's income. In practice, this means that if one parent is making substantially more than the other parent, then the parent bringing home the bigger paycheck will likely pay support, although the amount of that support could be relatively small since both parents have the children in their respective homes for about half the year. Likewise, parents may still have to contribute to the costs of child care and to their children's medical expenses.

It may come as a surprise to some people that they have to pay support even though they have split custody, and this may even strike them as unfair. Moreover, there can be debates between couples, such as whether custody is truly "split" in practice, as well as ongoing disputes about how much each parent really makes. These sorts of issues are often best resolved with the help of an experienced child support attorney.

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Kevin Qualls Family Law
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