child support if I have joint custody

There is a common misconception that one does not have to pay child support if they have joint custody of their children.  However, this is simply not true.  A parent with joint custody of their kids may have to pay child support to the other parent and here’s why…

In North Carolina (and many other states), the amount of child support is determined by three things:

(1) Gross monthly income of both parents.
(2) The custody schedule.
(3) The number of kids.

Other additional factors such as health insurance, child-care costs, and other “extraordinary” expenses will affect child support as well.  If you have joint custody and are paying child support then you probably make more money than the other parent and/or the other parent is paying for health insurance and child-care costs and/or the kids spend more overnights with the other parent.

Joint custody does not always mean equal custody.  In fact, joint custody means that both parents have the kids for at least 1/3 of the year (at least 122 overnights per year).  For example, joint custody can occur when Mom has the kids for 150 overnights and Dad has the kids for 215 overnights.

The important takeaway from this information is that joint custody does not automatically wipe out child support and if you share custody with the other parent then know that you may be on the hook for child support or be entitled to receive child support.

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Chelsea Chapman
Associate Attorney
When she isn’t practicing law, Chelsea is practicing yoga and spending time with her friends. She enjoys reading, attempting to cook, and watching Jeopardy. Chelsea loves to travel and is always searching for her next adventure.

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