If You Have Joint Custody Who Pays Child Support?

Laura E. Shapiro -

When it comes to joint custody in Denver, CO, one of the most common questions that parents have is about their child support obligations.

Specifically, if you have joint custody, who pays child support?

While “custody” now refers to decision-making, parenting time, when it is 50/50, is when the question arises.

Child Holding Hands With Parents walking down the street

In most situations, regardless of shared physical custody, both parents must contribute to their child’s financial support.

In circumstances where the income levels of both parents are nearly identical, it’s feasible that neither parent will be responsible for paying child support to the other.

If income is equal, then additional out-of-pocket expenses are shared equally.

For detailed information about how child custody arrangements impact your support payments, reach out to Shapiro Family Law at 303-695-0200.

Why Do I Need to Pay Child Support If I Have Shared Custody of My Children?

Child support is calculated not just on the time each parent has with the children but on combined gross income.

Colorado’s child support guidelines mandate that even parents who have their children for more than 92 overnights per year, which puts them on Child Support Worksheet B, must contribute to their child’s expenses beyond just the basic child support.

Furthermore, because support is based on income and overnights, the Court can order child support payments even in situations of shared physical custody.

Child Support calculation hinges on the joint income of both parents; thus, the support amount depends on each parent’s earnings and the number of overnights they have with the children.

How Is Child Support Calculated in Joint Custody Cases?

Child support is calculated based on the formula provided in the child support guidelines unless your incomes exceed the uppermost limits of those guidelines.

While the Court provides worksheets with instructions on calculating child support and even provides a software application to assist you, you can make mistakes in totaling your amount.

At Shapiro Family Law, our dedicated team can assist with this process.

Our family law attorneys will guide you through the necessary financial documentation, help you determine your child support obligation, and assess potential child support you might receive.

We help parents across Colorado with child support and other family law concerns.

Does Shared Physical Custody Change My Basic Child Support Payments?

Yes. If a parent has 92 overnights or more with their child, their child support obligation reduces.

Child support primarily covers basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing.

Parents usually divide extra out-of-pocket expenses in proportion to income.

In shared physical custody arrangements, the basic child support payments adjust when the non-residential parent hosts the children for more than 92 nights a year.

As parents’ overnight time with their children increases, their monthly child support payment correspondingly decreases.

For non-residential parents seeking to recalculate their child support due to increased overnight stays with their children, Shapiro Family Law is here to help.

How Will a Change in My Income Affect My Joint Responsibilities?

If you host your children for fewer than 92 overnights, child support is calculated on Worksheet A, and you will not receive credit for overnight stays.

However, you may still have child support obligations to the other parent.

Suppose unforeseen circumstances impact your ability to pay the initially agreed-upon child support.

In that case, you can request a child support modification to alter your monthly payment amount.

Either parent can request a modification in child support if one suffers a job loss, falls ill, or experiences an increase in income to reflect these changes in financial circumstances.

Our law firm can assist you if you need to modify your child support payments.

How Is Child Support Calculated for Parents?

The Courts utilize an “Income Shares Model,” which combines each parent’s monthly adjusted gross income to calculate a monthly basic support obligation. This model ensures that children benefit from the financial contributions of both parents.

Several factors influence the child support obligations of each parent.

The Court considers the custodial parent’s financial resources, the standard of living the child would have had if the parents hadn’t divorced or separated, the child’s physical and emotional conditions and educational needs, and the financial resources and requirements of the non-custodial parent. 

Extra expenses like health insurance, daycare expenses, school costs, and special medical treatments are usually shared in proportion to the combined income.

How Can I Get Answers to My Questions About Child Support?

At Shapiro Family Law, we understand parents’ challenges when navigating child support cases and other family law matters.

Our team of experienced Denver child custody lawyers is here to answer questions like who pays child support if we have joint custody and address any concerns you may have.

Contact us today at 303-695-0200 to schedule a consultation.

Laura E. Shapiro

Laura Shapiro is an award-winning Family Law Attorney with 40+ years of experience. Laura practices Family Law exclusively with her primary focus being divorce and child custody matters.

Contact Us