If you and your spouse agree to shared child custody as an outcome of your divorce, you should know that one of you may still need to pay shared custody child support.
Unlike with split custody, in a shared custody arrangement the children will be living with each parent at least 40% of the time. This results in both parents paying for childcare while they are in custody of the children. However, the Family Law Act dictates that one parent may still need to give child support payments to the other in order to maintain the children’s standard of living.
How is Shared Custody Child Support Calculated?
In split custody child support, you simply put your income, number of children, and province into our Child Support Calculator (LINK) and you would find the approximate level of child support you could expect to pay. Unlike split custody child support, shared custody child support requires a few more steps to come to the final amount. Although the Federal Child Support Guidelines are still used, the final level of expected support may be different. The overall goal of shared custody child support is to provide the children with the same standards of living at both residences of their parents.
You can approximate your shared custody child support levels by:
- Using the Child Support Calculator, find the level of support each parent would be expected to pay if they were in a split custody arrangement.
- Calculate the difference between these two child support amounts.
- Take into account the circumstances, means, needs, and current living conditions of each parent.
- Take into account any increased costs of shared custody, such as travel or housing arrangements.
It can be very difficult to calculate the final child support payments without detailed information about any increased costs of shared custody and the living conditions provided by each parent. This means that shared custody child support will be decided on a case by case basis, depending on the circumstances of the divorce.
Here is a simplified example of how shared custody child support is calculated. Amy and David are getting a divorce and have two children. Amy makes $75,000 a year and David makes $50,000 a year. By using our Child Support Calculator, we can determine that their expected levels of child support would break down as:
- Amy – $1,105 a month
- David – $743 a month
Without including any circumstances or extra expenses, we can assume that Amy would need to pay David $362 a month of child support. Keep in mind that this number may end up being very different, depending on your specific situation.
What If We Have Child Support Levels in Our Separation Agreement?
Writing a separation agreement can make the process of a divorce a great deal smoother, as all of the fallout will have been negotiated beforehand. Although negotiating child support levels in your separation agreement is a worthy idea, be aware that the court can override it if they feel that it isn’t adequate for the children’s care.
The rights of the children are always paramount in a divorce. If a judge feels that your agreed level of child support will not allow for the children to maintain a similar standard of living at both of your residences, then the court can order a greater level of support be provided by one of the parents.
This is an excellent reason to hire an experienced divorce lawyer when negotiating a separation agreement. With our knowledge of the Federal Child Support Guidelines, we can help you negotiated a fair level of shared custody child support, as well as all the other aspects of your support agreement.
Navigating family law rules and negotiating shared custody child support levels can be difficult, but Baidwan & Baidwan is here for you. Baidwan & Baidwan Lawyers LLP is a full-service law firm that specializes in family, criminal, and real estate law. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 905-230-8888 for an initial consultation.