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Who Pays Child Support In Cases Involving Joint Or Split Custody?

The income shares method used in determining child support for Louisiana families is also applicable in cases involving shared or split custody. Whereas a sole custody situation involves one parent paying their entire share of the calculated child support to the custodial parent, joint, shared, and split custody situations may involve reduced payments based on the time a child spends with each party.

To issue a support order in a joint custody scenario, the court first works with the child support that each parent would be responsible for in a sole custody situation. This is based on a variety of income factors along with anticipated child care and health insurance costs. Adjustments to the owed amounts are determined based on the time that a child is to spend with each parent. A support owing parent who has physical custody in excess of 73 days during the year may receive a credit to their support obligation.

In a shared custody situation where parents have approximately equal time with a child, the support share for each parent is determined based on income and anticipated time a child will spend with each parent. The individual who owes a greater share pays the difference between their share and that of the other parent in child support. In split custody situations, a similar approach is taken as the parent owing the greater share pays the difference between the two shares to the other party.

Because complex custody situations can result in greater challenges in predicting support, it may be important to work with an experienced lawyer during this process to ensure that computations are as accurate as possible. Additionally, it may be important to address significant changes in the time a child spends with a support-owing parent to ensure that modifications can be made to reflect such adjustments.

Source: Washing State Department of Social and Health Services, “Louisiana Statutes”, November 18, 2014

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