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Do you have to pay support with 50/50 custody?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Family Law

Long gone are the days when the typical custody arrangement involved the kids staying with Mom during the bulk of the year, with Dad getting visitation every other weekend and some extra time on the holidays or over the summer.

Today, there’s a growing awareness that children usually do better after a divorce when both parents remain deeply involved in their lives. Absent any problems that would make one parent unfit, it’s far more normal to hear of parents splitting physical custody of the kids 50/50.

So, if you have the kids roughly half the time, why are you still paying support?

Parenting time is just one factor in child support decision

Under Pennsylvania laws, child support is based on the needs of the children involved. The goal is to make sure that the child does not suffer any financial deprivation due to their parents’ divorce, and each parent is still expected to provide for the child according to their means.

For that reason, a 50/50 split in parenting time does not automatically end the child support obligation from one parent to the other. Pennsylvania’s child support formula takes into consideration the parenting time, each parent’s countable income and the number of children involved, among other factors – but even with evenly shared parenting, an affluent parent could owe a non-affluent spouse support. 

Think of it this way: If your child is spending half their time with you and half their time with your ex-spouse, their experience in both homes should be roughly the same. You don’t want your child to be deprived of the essentials or have a reduced standard of living every other week.

Child support issues can be far more complicated than most people realize. Obtaining experienced legal guidance can help you protect your relationship with your child and your finances.