By Tamara Hoffstatter
Child support is meant to ensure that each parent is taking a role in providing for the financial needs of their children.
If one parent has sole physical custody and the other has visitation, the parent with the visitation will almost always end up paying child support.
The assessment of a child support obligation is not really based, however, on who has custody of the children.
Child support is calculated by factoring in the gross income of both parents in order to address a baseline level of support the parents could provide if the family was to remain intact. Credit is then given to the amount of caregiving time that each parent spends with the children.
The calculation of the amount of child support and who pays the child support is the result of a set of guidelines and a formula that each state has established to ensure the financial well being of children. Based on these guidelines, if you share equal time with your ex-wife, but you make more money than her, chances are you will pay some amount of child support.
Child Support Guidelines Thought Process
Consider that it takes a certain amount of dollars per year to raise, care for, or support a minor child. Prior to divorce, your family covered its yearly expenses, including the finances needed to take care of the children, through the income of both parents.
After your divorce, the same yearly expenses are there for the children, but the funds (the gross income of the parents together) are not coming from the same household. The funds that made up the married parents’ income have been divided between two households.
So, how do we make sure that the children are going to be taken care of at the appropriate level of financial responsibility if the funds (the gross income of both parents) have been split?
As a rule of thumb, the parent who spends the smaller percentage of time in visitation or responsible caretaking time is likely going to end up paying child support because that parent is not physically around as much as the other parent to provide for the children’s well-being.
However, even in a shared custody arrangement, if one parent has the greater income to pay for the support of the minor children, then that parent may very likely end up paying some amount of child support