Kentucky parents who are negotiating child custody arrangements should also understand how child custody can affect child support. As both parents are responsible for meeting the financial needs of raising a child, there might be some questions about how this is addressed when parents share child custody.
Legal and physical joint custody factors
Joint legal child custody gives both parents decision-making responsibility for major aspects of the child’s life, such as education, religion and health. However, it does not usually impact the way child support is determined and paid. Physical joint custody refers to the time the child spends with each parent, and in particular, the nights spent at each home. Unlike legal joint custody, however, physical joint custody can have an impact on child support.
Joint physical custody and child support
When parents share physical custody, it might seem logical that neither pays child support if the child splits time equally with both parents. However, there are certain factors in establishing child support that might result in at least one of the parents paying child support even if the child spends the same amount of time with each parent. These factors include:
- Each parent’s income
- The child’s financial needs
- The ability of each parent to cover the costs associated with raising a child in two homes
- Any additional factors particular to each family’s case
Once the court considers these factors, the support responsibility might not be divided equally between the two parents, even if they share parenting time equally. In those cases, the court might order the higher-earning parent to pay support to the lower-earning parent. The court also reserves the right to modify the child support amount established by the formula used by the state. As the child’s financial needs and the family’s situation changes, the parents might also request modifications to the support order.