Welcome to the first of a three part mini-series on special topics in child support! This month’s topic is “Shared and Split Custody” and how it relates to child support.
A shared custody or a split custody arrangement does not mean the same thing as a “joint custody” arrangement. Joint custody refers to both parents jointly making decisions that affect their child or children’s health, education, religion, major extra-curricular activities and general well-being. Shared custody refers to the amount of physical time the child or children spend with each of their parents. In order to have a shared custody arrangement, the child or children must spend at least 40% of the time with each parent. A split custody arrangement can occur in a family with two or more children is when some of the children reside primarily with one parent (more than 60% of the time) while the other children reside primarily with the other.
Section 9 of the Child Support Guidelines describes the factors considered when determining how to calculate child support in a shared or split custody situation. The factors are:
- How much support each parent should pay based on their respective incomes and the corresponding amount of support payable under Child Support Guidelines;
- The increased costs to both parents due to the child or children residing with them at least 40% of the time;
- The particular conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each parent and of the children that require support.
In many circumstances, child support in a shared or split custody arrangement is calculated by determining the full Child Support Guidelines child support amount payable by one parent based on their income and the amount of children to support, set off against the other parent’s full Child Support Guidelines child support amount. For example, if a couple has three children residing with each of them at least 40% of the time, the Parents will first consult the Child Support Guidelines. If Parent 1 earns $100,000.00 per year and Parent 2 earns $60,000.00 per year, Parent 1’s monthly child support obligation is $1,845.00 and Parent 2’s monthly child support obligation is $1,168.00, Parent 1 should pay set-off child support to Parent 2 in the amount of $677.00 per month. A child support calculator is available at here.
Of course, each family’s circumstances may be quite different. Determining whether a parent has reached the 40% threshold of time spent with the child/children is also not a simple endeavor, as there are a number of factors to consider in the calculations. Consulting with a family lawyer in order to discuss your family’s situation and obtain legal advice on the correct amount of child support that should be paid or received could save you from a difficult situation in the future. It is in the children’s best interests that they receive adequate financial support in both households.
“The information in this article is not intended as legal advice, and should not be considered as such. Family law varies from province to province and the outcome of your situation may also vary depending on the facts of your case. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a lawyer with respect to your family law matter. This article is for educational purposes only.”