If we share custody, does someone still pay child support?

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Child support was established at a time when courts typically awarded primary custody of the children to mothers, who often did not work outside the home. In most cases, there was an obvious need for financial assistance from the noncustodial parent.

Because of how and why child support began, you might assume that if two parents are sharing custody of their kids, there would be no need for child support. However, you can expect that even if you share custody of your kids with the other parent, one of you will still be ordered to pay child support

Why do I still have to pay child support if we share custody?

Child support is supposed to help a financially disadvantaged parent provide care for a child. In other words, one parent will likely still earn less than the other parent earns, or have greater financial obligations than the other parent has. Further, keep in mind that even if you share custody of your kids, the balance of parenting time may not be exactly equal. 

How much will I have to pay?

While you may still be ordered to pay child support, the balance of your parenting time will play a significant role in how much you must pay. There are numerous factors used to calculate support in shared custody arrangements, but balance of custody is a major one. Generally speaking, the more time you spend with your kids, the less money you will need to pay to the other parent. 

How can I be sure this arrangement is fair?

With all this in mind, it is still critical to ensure that child support obligations are calculated accurately. This can involve scrutinizing both parents’ incomes, determining shared costs and assessing variable costs as well. 

Any parent with questions or concerns about the money they have been or will be required to pay for child support can discuss the situation with a family law attorney familiar with child support laws and practices in Wisconsin.