Who Pays Child Support in Joint Custody

Who Pays Child Support in Joint Custody?


Whereas it seems practical that parents that have “joint custody” wouldn’t be required to pay child support since they both have the child, there are a lot of cases where one of the parents needs to provide child support. Read the following post and then speak with what rules apply to your case with a knowledgeable family lawyer in your area.

Kinds of Custody

When people mention “joint custody,” they may be referencing 2 different interpretations: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is where one parent is able to make significant life choices for the child. Joint legal custody allows each of the parents the right in making choices collectively for the child. As an example, parents that have joint legal custody need to make shared decisions related to the child’s health, schooling, and religion. Each of the parents typically have uniform access to the child’s health and schooling records. This type of custody has no effect on child support.

Physical Custody

Physical custody relates to who the child will live with. When one of the parents has full physical custody, the other could have visitation benefits. Visitation can be in reference to as reasonable or structured in many areas. Reasonable visitation is where there is not a fixed schedule for visits. Alternatively, it depends on the agreement between the parents. Structured visitation happens on a regular basis, like specific holidays, weekends and summer visits. Joint physical custody also comprises of a schedule of when the child is going to be with one of the parents. The child typically lives with both parents at differing periods. Whereas one parent will have joint custody, its possible to not have the child the same number of time as the other does. In some situations, parents will have joint legal and/or physical custody. In other cases, they will only have joint legal custody.

Calculating Child Support

Child support is a succession of regular payments one parent makes to financially support and care their child. In the cases whereas one parent has full custody, the other parent is usually ordered to pay child support to the other parent. The amount of child support that is granted is usually based on a specific procedure that is named by a state mandate. With joint custody cases, the parent that has the greater income could be ordered to pay child support to the parent with reduced income. How much child support that a parent is required to pay is subject on the state law where the child support order was issued. A lot of courts will order child support despite the fact the parents have joint custody. State law may examine a number of elements when establishing the amount child support to order.


Many states examine the income of each parent whereas others only examine that of the parent that will be making the child support payments. Courts may also examine tax factors. Many states base the amount of child support needed to be ordered off of the paying parent’s total income then multiply that figure by a specific percentage based on the amount of children for in which support is getting ordered.

Custody Arrangement

Courts also examine the kind of custody that the parents have. All in all, the more time a parent has with their child, a lower portion of child support will need to be ordered. For instance, many states reduce the number of child support that is ordered on the basis of the amount of over-night visits the child is going to have with the parent.


Courts also examine the expenses that the parents will sustain when supporting the child. For instance, courts can contemplate the prices of daycare and health insurance. The court may also examine the educational requirements of the child, in addition to any special needs. The expenses sustained in maintaining each home might also be determined.


Courts may examine the amount of children that each parent will need to support. In addition, they may examine the age of each child and who is living in each home.


A lot of state laws concerning child support permit a family court judge to stray from child support procedures. The state can offer a list of considerations that the judge can think about if they believe that the child support formula wouldn’t be fair in a specific situation. For instance, a state might enable a judge to consider if the child has a trust, a parent has considerable assets despite a lower income and/or one parent has other children they need to support. Typically, the family court judge needs to specify why they have strayed from the formula.


  1. Who Pays Child Support in Joint Custody. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/does-joint-custody-mean-that-neither-parent-has-to-pay-child-support-34330

Speak With Our Child Custody Attorney In Scottsdale

Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


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Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer


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