Will I have to pay support if we do joint child custody?

Most people know that, in California, child support is usually paid by the noncustodial parent to the parent with primary physical custody. As family law trends are shifting toward more shared child custody situations, will child support roles change to match? Even in cases where parents share roughly equal physical custody, support can still play an important role in the financial well-being of the child. 

Historically, mothers were usually given primary physical custody. Dads would see the kids during visitation weekends and would shell out for child support. This arrangement reflected past generations’ societal expectations, especially that of a breadwinning man who continued to provide necessary financial support. Current families look much different, though, with many households functioning with two working adults even before divorce, giving women stronger incomes to fall back on. Shared custody also means that women are taking on less of the financial brunt of child-rearing. 

In such situations where both parents are working and they split custody responsibilities equally, child support usually falls to the higher-earner. However, the amount paid may not be as much as most fathers were ordered to pay in the past. This is because both parents now have more of an opportunity to engage in regular, financial support. 

Like with all family law issues, matters such as child custody, support and more should reflect each family’s unique situation and the well-being of the child. However, emotions run notoriously high during divorce, so figuring out everyone’s best interests can be difficult. Experienced attorneys can provide guidance and ongoing support for those in California who are struggling to handle these difficult matters. 

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