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How does sole or shared custody impact child support?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | Child Custody |

In Virginia family law cases, the issues that must be addressed might be viewed as separate. Some people might look at child support and child custody as being in different categories, but they are deeply connected.

Parents must be aware of how the support order interacts with custody arrangements.

From the start, the parents should know what their preferred custody arrangement is, what the legal guidelines say, the difference between sole custody and shared custody and what it means regarding the support agreement. Since the law can be complicated, it is important to have guidance throughout the process.

Support amounts are based on custody

A common mistake that people make as they navigate a family law case make is thinking that custody and support are disconnected. That is not the case. The issues are linked and it is vital to know how as this will have great influence on the amount that must be paid in child support.

Sole custody gives one parent the primary responsibility for caring for the child. They are granted the right to make all decisions for the child. With sole custody, state guidelines set the monthly obligation.

The guidelines are based on combined monthly gross income of the parties and the number of children they have. This will be added to how much it will cost to pay for health care coverage, work-related child care expenses and other factors the court considers.

Health care coverage means basic care, vision and dental care. The noncustodial parent’s obligation for child support will be lowered by the cost of health care when they pay it directly.

Shared custody means both parents have responsibility for the child. Under the support law, if a parent has custody of the child or parenting time for over 90 days during a year, there will be a shared custody support order. This is done by calculating how long the child is with each parent.

The court uses income share, custody share, shared support need and sole custody support to decide on the amount.

Income share is the percentage each parent earns when both parents’ incomes are calculated.

Custody share is the number of days a parent has the child under their care divided by the number of days in the year.

Shared support need is based on the guidelines with gross income and the number of children that need support.

Determining child support can be more complicated than it seems

In a best-case scenario, the sides are agreeable and flexible with custody and support. However, in family law cases, there are often lingering disputes and parents are not on the same page.

In these cases, it can be confusing to get through all the legal factors that will come up. The main goal is to ensure the child is cared for. To get a fair resolution with child support based on the circumstances and how custody is handled, it is useful to have assistance from the start.