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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 08-24-2009, 04:14 PM
HappyMomma HappyMomma is offline
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Default Shared Custody support payments

Hi. I'm SURE this question has been answered somewhere already but I'm unable to find it.

How are support payments calculated if parents share custody? My lawyer indicated that it's all over the place - some judges use the guidelines, others do not. Is this true?

My lawyer also indicated that because there are no clear guidelines for support in shared custody situations that the courts may take into account the fact that I support a third child (not his) as well.

And clarification would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:41 PM
Mess Mess is offline
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Hi CSAngel. I am still in the middle of this so I can't tell you my end result, only what I've been advised so far. However I will tell you that both my lawyer and my STBX's lawyer at least agree on this principal. I also had the same advice from an earlier lawyer I had a half hour consultation with. But keep in mind this isn't settled and I can't remark on how it would play out in court...

Where the access is roughly equal, that is, somewhere between 40% and 60%, each parent will pay the other the amount from the Federal Tables according to income. So if I would pay $200 per month and my ex would pay $1000 per month then the net difference is $800 and that is what my ex should pay.

The amount can vary due to undue hardship if the amount would put the paying household below the standard of living of the receiving household. This has to be proven, not just claimed.

Both of us are required to contribute to section 7 expenses (daycare, tuition) proportionate to income. My ex makes 4X my income, the split is 20/80.

My understanding from my lawyer is that the courts are absolutely required to use the Guidelines, but if my ex and me work something out together that is agreeable, or through mediation, we don't have to stick to the Guidelines. I have been told that for the courst the Guidelines are not really guidelines, they are mandatory.

However again, we haven't played this out so I don't know how this will end up, and I would also like to hear someone's advice who has been through this start to finish.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mess View Post
...

Where the access is roughly equal, that is, somewhere between 40% and 60%, each parent will pay the other the amount from the Federal Tables according to income. So if I would pay $200 per month and my ex would pay $1000 per month then the net difference is $800 and that is what my ex should pay.
...
That is the formula that I use with 50/50 custody.
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:49 PM
yetanotherbill yetanotherbill is offline
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My lawyer advised that if custody were to go 50/50 then CS could either be zero or based on the table amounts for each parent's income. A coin flip according to him...
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mess View Post
..

Where the access is roughly equal, that is, somewhere between 40% and 60%, each parent will pay the other the amount from the Federal Tables according to income. So if I would pay $200 per month and my ex would pay $1000 per month then the net difference is $800 and that is what my ex should pay.
...
This method mathematically means that it costs exactly DOUBLE to raise the child in two homes insteaf of one, which is of course not true, and therefore not fair....
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:47 PM
representingself representingself is offline
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Hey Billm - help me out wouldya?

To clarify: (I know the #'s aren't right but.....)

Scenario: Both parents have 50/50 "shared" custody.

Parent 1 makes $100,000/yr
Parent 2 makes $50,000/yr

For "shared" CS payments, does each parent determine "their" guideline amount, and Parent 1 pay the difference? For example....

Parent 1 supposed to pay $1000
Parent 2 supposed to pay $500

So therefore Parent 1 pays Parent 2 $500 and that's it?
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by representingself View Post
Hey Billm - help me out wouldya?

To clarify: (I know the #'s aren't right but.....)

Scenario: Both parents have 50/50 "shared" custody.

Parent 1 makes $100,000/yr
Parent 2 makes $50,000/yr

For "shared" CS payments, does each parent determine "their" guideline amount, and Parent 1 pay the difference? For example....

Parent 1 supposed to pay $1000
Parent 2 supposed to pay $500

So therefore Parent 1 pays Parent 2 $500 and that's it?
Yes that is correct - that is called the set off method.

This method as I mentioned assumes that it costs exactly twice as much to raise a child, or in other words that the parents should spend exactly twice as much as when the child is living in just one house. I don't agree with this and it is a disadvantage to the person who make more money.

Here is the math to show that. Using your scenario, the guidelines say that given parent 1's income, they should spend $1000 on child raising (by giving it to the parent that has the child all the time).

Given parent 2's income, they should spend $500 on child raising (by giving it to the parent that has the child all the time).

So that is the case for a single house hold, parent 1 should spend $1000 and parent 2 should spend $500. Which ever one actually raises the child, it is assumed they spend that much, and they receive the other parents support, so the total to raise the child in one house is $1500.

Okay, so now for the set off method and equal physical custody...

Again with the same income/cs numbers. If it costs the same to raise the child in two houses as it does one, then the total still is $1500 ($750 for each house), and parent 1, who is supposed to spend $1000, gives parent 2 $250, and uses the remaining $750 to raise the child. Parent 2 receives $250 and spends their own $500 totalling $750 to raise the child. Great it works, assuming it costs the same for two houses, which of course it does not.

BUT for the set off method parent 1 gives parent 2 DOUBLE the amount ($500 instead of $250), which means that the set off method says it costs DOUBLE to raise kids in two houses because the only way that the set off method is fair (ie preserves the relative amounts each parent should pay : parent 1 twice as much as parent 2 in our case) is if it costs double to raise them in two houses.

So to prove this, lets look at examples of what it costs to see what is 'fair'...
Lets say it does cost double, $1500 for each house. So parent 1 gives $500 to parent 2, and also spends $1500 in their own house so total cost to parent 1 is $2000. Parent 2 receives $500, and spends another $1000 in their own house so total cost to parent 2 = $1000, so parent 1 pays twice as much for raising the kid as does parent 2, which is what the tables say.

BUT now lets assume that it does not cost double, lets assume that it costs 50% more when you do it in two houses instead of one = $1500 * 1.5 = $2250, or $1125/house. Parent 1 pays $500 to parent 2 and spends $1125 in their own house so total cost to parent 1 is $1625. Parent 2 receives $500 and spends $625 in their own house so total cost to parent 2 is $625. Parent 2's cost IS LESS than half of what poor parent 1 pays, yet the CS tables say that parent 2 should spend half as much as parent 1, which means parent 1 is taking on a greater percentage of the burden!

So the only way the set off method is fair to the greater income earner is if it costs twice as much to raise kids in two homes as compared to one, which of course is not true, so the greater income earner is paying more than their fair share.

I think all my numbers and logic is correct so if anyone can disprove or agree that would be great...

Last edited by billm; 09-03-2009 at 10:24 PM.
  #8  
Old 09-04-2009, 09:17 AM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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THANK GOD our incomes are almost equal! I was actually able to follow that Bill, but it is very confusing and unfair.

One question though, if the shared parenting is not 50/50, say 60/40, do you still use that scenario or would you account for one parent having the children longer than the other (and thus being owed more or paying less)
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:23 AM
HappyMomma HappyMomma is offline
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My understanding is that anything 40% and over is considered shared custody and would use that calculation.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:42 AM
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thanks so much!
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