Do You Need to Pay Child Support If You Split Custody Equally?

Child support is a valuable concept that allows parents to give their children a better quality of life. However, it’s also a contentious subject since child support payments are usually a significant new bill for the parent ordered to pay.

That’s why it’s natural to wonder when you’re required to pay child support. For instance, you may want to know whether you’ll be ordered to pay if you share custody equally with your co-parent. Keep reading to learn when you need to pay child support, how it’s calculated, and how to request that the order is changed.

How California Calculates Child Support

Most people see child support as something judges order non-custodial parents to pay to custodial parents after a divorce or breakup. If that’s your understanding, you might assume that parents who share equal custody don’t have to pay. However, that’s not quite how it actually works in California.

California has an extremely in-depth calculator that all parents must use to determine payments during custody battles. Judges are obligated to follow the calculator’s results. This calculator takes a wide variety of considerations into account, including:

  • The number of children involved
  • How much time the children spend with each parent
  • The respective incomes of each parent
  • Tax deductions, public assistance, and health insurance
  • Extra needs of the children, such as disabilities that need medical care

Depending on the situation, the calculator can lead to many different outcomes. If two parents split custody equally and have approximately equal incomes, neither one may be required to pay. However, if you earn twice as much as your co-parent, you will likely be obligated to pay even if parenting time is split evenly.

How to Get Custody Orders That Fit Your Life

Judges may not ignore the result of California’s child support calculator when writing custody orders. However, if you’ve received a order that doesn’t fit your life, you can request to change it.

There are two ways to reduce the amount you pay. The first is to prove that you can no longer afford the original ordered amount or that your co-parent has begun earning more and no longer needs that much. The second is to fight for primary custody.

Both solutions require you to prove that there has been a material change in circumstances. You’ll need to collect evidence such as

  • Proof of your co-parent’s new job
  • Evidence of your reduced income
  • Evidence that your co-parent is no longer able to provide your children with a safe and supportive environment

You’ll also need to work with experienced family law attorneys who can help you make your argument and navigate family court.

Manage Your Child Support Order Effectively

You don’t have to accept sky-high child support payments. While you may have to pay when sharing custody equally, California law doesn’t intend these orders to be an overwhelming burden. If your custody order no longer fits your life, contact the experts at Viola Law, P.C., to discuss your situation. Our expert team will help you fight for a custody order that fits your life and support payments that fit your budget.

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