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Child custody determination will usually be made before child support is figured for a divorce case. The issue of child visitation will also be set after a determination of child custody is made between the parties. Visitation and support are two separate issues within a divorce case as well. Custodial parents cannot deny visitation based on whether or not support is being paid. Even though emotions run very high during this type of situation and it will be very important to make sure that each party keeps in mind that the best interest of the child or children is the key factor in divorce action.
Child support and child custody are two totally separate matters when it comes to filing for divorce. If there are children involved, the issue of child support is determined based upon the income and income capabilities of the parties. Child custody of course affects child support depending upon who is receiving the support and who is receiving custody of the children. Factors that can affect custody would be ability of the parties to financially, emotionally and physically care for the child or children. Sometimes both parties desire child custody of the children and the court usually prefers to grant joint custody of the parties' children. However, unless there is a true 50/50 split of custody of the children, one party will begin to pay the parent having residential custody of the children some type of support unless the residential custodian makes sufficiently more income than the party not receiving residential custody. All these matters should be taken into account when deciding what is in the best interest of the children. Hopefully, you and your spouse have decided to have an uncontested divorce and can work out child custody and child support on your own. This will save time, money and heartache.
Several factors go into making a determination of child support. The age of the children will be one factor. The older the child, the more the total obligation will be of the parental support. Usually the child support guidelines will break down age categories of the children. Another factor considered when calculating child support is obviously the income of the parents. Usually in this case, a percentage is assigned to each parent as far as financial responsibility.
In situations involving a child and divorce, determining child support usually comes into play because both parents are required to support the children of the marriage. Usually some type of income is attributed to the parties, whether they're employed or not, as long as they are "employable" and able to contribute to the support of the minor children. Laws can vary from state to state with regard to calculating child support. If the parties agree to a child support figure, most often, a judge will "find" or rule that the figure is equitable, barring no cohersion on either part. Child support guidelines can usually be found online and give the parties some idea as to what the child support would amount to, if decided by a court of law.
Even though laws vary from state to state, each state will have what is called a set of guidelines that assist a judge in determining what amount to set child support at. These child support calculators can take into account things such as difference in incomes of the parties, number of children, ages of the children, income capabilities of each party, etc. Most of the time, these child support forms or worksheets can be obtained through your local district court clerk's office or even online. Should the parties be unable to agree on a child support amount, the judge will take into account all factors and make a ruling that he/she feels best represents the ability of the parties to financially care for the children of the marriage.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|