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Primary vs Shared

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  • Primary vs Shared

    In Alberta what would the difference in child support be between primary and shared custody? Big difference?
    My ex and all the lawyers making a big deal out of this and I want to know why. My ex has spouted out money, I was just thinking time spent with the kids was a difference.
    I don't think it matters when your income differences are huge, I'm just wondering what it does if the difference isn't astronomical...
    Lets say our income come closer together in the future- lets say I make $40K and he makes $60k....

  • #2
    "Joint custody" refers to decision-making power. Most parenting situations are joint custody, where both parents have the right to be involved in decisions about the child (education, health, etc). Child support is not about joint custody, it is based on whether custody is shared or not shared.

    In a situation where custody is not shared, the child spends more than 60% of his/her time residing with one parent. That's the custodial parent. The other parent pays the custodial parent a monthly sum for child support. This is described in Section 3 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (FCSG), so this is sometimes called "S3 support". The amount of S3 support is determined by the FCSG income tables. You plug in the income of the non-custodial parent, province of residence and number of children and voila, there's the amount that parent should pay to the other parent every month.

    In shared custody, the child spends not less than 40% of his/her time with each parent. In these cases, the parents *pay each other* child support. You need to plug the incomes of *both* parents into the tables to see what each parent pays the other. Typically, people subtract the smaller child support payment from the larger, and the parent with the larger payment pays the other parent the difference between the two payments. Sometimes the difference between these amounts is big, sometimes it's small. My ex and I have shared parenting and very similar incomes. Mine is slightly higher so I pay him $180 per month, even though our daughter spends equal time with each of us. Shared parenting is described in Section 9 of the FCSG.

    The financial difference between shared and non-shared parenting can be huge. That's why people get into battles about whether the child is spending at least 40% of his/her time with each parent (shared) or less than 40% of his/her time with one parent (not shared).


    • #3
      That's a great explanation!
      Lets say you have shared parenting and as time goes on, the other parent starts leaving the kids with you more and more.
      Can a shared custody ever be changed into joint with primary?


      • #4
        So in primary, the primary parents income is not used to calculate CS?


        • #5
          Yes, I was thinking that my ex was worried about being out of the kids lives (eventhough he's trying to get rid of me) and then he spouted out the word "money" so I'm looking into it and am now worried that once shared is established, he'll say- "here's the kids, see ya".


          • #6
            Originally posted by oink View Post
            Get this whole primary thing out of your's either sole custody or shared custody.

            sole custody.....the person that doesn't have custody pays the person that does full table amount

            shared custody less than still pay the full table amount to the person that say has 61%

            shared custody 40-60%.....the difference in both parties income i.e. highest earner pays lowest earner CS based on this difference from the table amounts
            Not quite oink. You can have sole custody but still have shared ACCESS. Or you could have joint custody and non-shared access. Custody is decision making. Access determines CS.

            You need to specify both custody And access in you agreement.

            To the op- if your ex suddenly stops using their access then you wait a few months to let the status quo set in then file a motion to change based on the new schedule.


            • #7
              In Alberta (might be true elsewhere, don't know), people tend to refer to "parenting" rather than "access". So there's shared parenting (each parent has kids in residence >40% of the time over the course of a year) or not-shared parenting (kids reside primarily with one parent). The terminology is confusing.

              OP: So you're concerned your ex might dump the kids on you and take off once "shared parenting" is written into your divorce order? That's a new one - most people want *more* time with their kids, not less. If that does happen, keep track of the number of nights the kids are with you, and after a few months go by, go back to court to change your order, on the grounds that the ex is not complying with the requirements of shared parenting, and that therefore the child support arrangements should change too. And then good luck getting a dime out of him.


              • #8
                Originally posted by HappyMomma View Post
                Not quite oink. You can have sole custody but still have shared ACCESS. Or you could have joint custody and non-shared access. Custody is decision making. Access determines CS.

                You need to specify both custody And access in you agreement.

                To the op- if your ex suddenly stops using their access then you wait a few months to let the status quo set in then file a motion to change based on the new schedule.
                To clarify a bit more "Shared Custody" is the legal term you find in legislation for "access" that is between 40-60%.

                Custody is otherwise defined in the Children's Law Reform Act as "having the rights and responsibilities of a parent." I find the definition absurd, if it is used to take the rights and responsibilities of a parent away from the parent, and yet otherwise declare that said parent is still the parent, still entitled to access and still responsible for support. Nonetheless, in legal circles, "custody" is taken to mean decision making for health, education, and religion.


                • #9
                  I'm just trying to cover my basis and understand this stuff before I agree or fight anything. I've got a complicated case thanks to my ignorance a year ago. Back then I believed there was only sole custody and shared custody (i didnt have legal advice in the separation, duh) this primary stuff is new to me. I believed the ex was very persistent over shared because he wanted to be with the kids and I didn't want to keep the boys from him. Now that all this shit has hit the fan, and the money is coming out to be WAY more than what was stated a year ago, I beleive there are some ulterior motives coming out. We have some buildings that were owned through the marriage and I beleive he is going to start claiming my share of these building as income rather than equalization. Which makes this shared/joint thing a big deal for him.
                  I wouldn't have really thought about it until he related the word primary to money and I thought I better see whats what before I agree to anything again. I wasn't thinking much past the immediate a year ago and now that's bit me in the ass. I'm not sure if I'm turning pariniod or have valid concerns.


                  • #10
                    Karver, if you and your ex have the wide difference in income that you claim, there will be next to no effect on child support amounts.

                    If you want to get informed, that's great, but don't make such emotional judgements when you are not informed.

                    Here are the simplified child support tables for Alberta.

                    You have stated that his income is over 600k, and yours is 6k.

                    If you had 100% custody and he was paying 100% child support, it goes off the scale when his income goes over 150k . For 2 kids, it would $2099 @ $150k income. So let's double that, because a judge would, and call it $4200 per month.

                    If you had 50/50 custody, what happens is you take the amount you would pay per month and subtract it from what he would pay. You say you earn $6k per year. Let's look that up.... Lo an behold, you are off the scale at the other end!! Under $10k income per year and YOU PAY NO CHILD SUPPORT!

                    So if the numbers you have been posting on the board are even remotely accurate, SHARED CUSTODY WILL NOT AFFECT YOU AT ALL FINANCIALLY. In fact it will help you a lot, because you will only be supporting the kids half the time, but receiving full support.

                    It sounds like a great deal to me.

                    You say your ex said it was about money. You know, ex's say a lot weird things when relationships are broken down, relations are toxic, resentment is high, and stress is higher. I'm sure these days you don't believe most of what he says. Why would you believe that?

                    It is starting to sound like you will believe the worst of him no matter what, and damn the facts. I'm sure he is an ass, but call him an ass for factual reasons, not fantastical ones.


                    • #11
                      Your right, with this huge difference in income, there is no difference between primary and shared. But because he's self employed, I'm just wondering about the years when the difference isn't out of this universe. I do plan to get a job once Son3 is in school. Of course I would never make anywhere near his earning potential, but he could also say screw work.

                      It's just a hard time knowing what to do. I mean shit, he's still arguing his numbers, I don't know why this is such a bitch to get nailed down.
                      Someone on this forum once said "if you can trust your ex, great. If you have to trust your ex your in trouble". I trusted him that year ago and I probably shouldn't have. I just don't want to make anymore mistakes thinking in the immediate and not down the road.
                      I suppose in a divorce scenario the only thing you can think is "what way do I want to lose".


                      • #12
                        What to do is agree that the children should be able to have an equal relationship with their dad as with their mum, unless there compelling factual reasons why not.

                        Save money in the good years to help with the bad years, and put some focus on your career, rather than his. Live your life for you and your kids, and let the ex become a distant memory.


                        • #13
                          Agree 100% with Mess.

                          If the ex is claiming he wants shared parenting let him have it. It's in the children's best interests (unless one of you is unfit/a danger/etc).

                          JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY (This is in regards to "life altering" or "significant" events)...all this means is that you have to consult with each other on the "big decisions". I would highly recommend that you write in that one of you has "final say" in the event of a disagreement.

                          Things that would fall within Joint Legal:

                          1. The school wants to fail the child in a grade, whether to place the child in french immersion (early? late? not at all?)

                          2. The child needs braces, glasses, major surgery, etc

                          3. Baptism or other major religious milestones.

                          Things that DO NOT fall into Joint Legal:

                          1. Haircuts
                          2. School day trips/outing
                          3. Routine medical/dental appts.

                          A "fair" outcome upon separation is something along the lines of:

                          JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY with SHARED ACCESS (50-50), the day to day/routine decisions to lie with the parent who has the kids on a given day.

                          Designate one of you "Primary Residence", but make sure you clarify it to mean "for the purposes of determining the school zone".

                          CUSTODY is SOLE or JOINT (this determine decision making abilities for major events)

                          ACCESS is SHARED or NOT SHARED (ie. it's between 40-60% or it's not)


                          • #14
                            But if he is splitting that income with her, then they both will have a large income, which means that there will be a big difference between full table CS (based on him having 700K income) and offset CS (based on them both having around 300-400k income). At least, for this one year.

                            Just make sure your agreement clearly specifies
                            - your access schedule (e.g. alternating weeks or some other 50-50 arrangement)
                            - the CS Calculation method (Offset, using your line 150 incomes, where both your incomes will include CapGain proceeds from RE sales)
                            - joint vs sole custody (i.e. who makes major decisions).

                            Then all those other fuzzy words are not so important.
                            Last edited by dinkyface; 09-12-2013, 09:36 AM.


                            • #15
                              I see what you mean, Dinky, but that would be for the last year they were together. Moving forward they wouldn't be splitting income like that, and support right now should be based on her current income.


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