Our Salt Lake City child custody attorney Emy A. Cordano keeps answering the following question over and over again, “Why do I have to pay my ex-spouse child spouse if we divided our custody equally?”
For some reason, there is this widespread belief that paying child support has something to do with how much time you spend with the child compared to how much your ex-spouse spends with the child. In Utah, child support exists for one and only reason: to ensure that the child’s standard of living is not impacted by divorce.
Just because you and your ex-spouse share custody of your children equally do not necessarily mean that you will not be ordered to pay child support if you earn significantly more than the other parent. And it makes sense because your child custody order has little to no impact on the child’s standard of living.
Let us rephrase it. Our experienced child custody attorney in Salt Lake City explains that only child support payments can ensure that the lifestyle to which the child got used to during his or her parents’ marriage is not affected by their divorce.
Child support when custody is divided equally
Let’s imagine the following scenario. The mother and father share child custody equally, and both are employed. The only difference between the two parents is that the dad earns three times what the mother does. Obviously, the child’s mother cannot afford or maintain the same standard of living as the father does.
Just because the dad spends with the kids as much time as the mom does it does not mean that the mother earns as much as the father does. It’s that simple. After all, the dad out-earns the mom by 3:1, which is the biggest factor that is taken into account when determining child support.
Child support payments, meanwhile, must ensure that the children’s standard of living is more or less balanced at both parents’ homes when the kids are there. However, even if you out-earn the other parent by 3:1 but the kids spend 75 percent of the time at the other parent’s home, you will most likely be ordered to pay even more than in the 50-50 percent child custody order.
In that case, the court will order the high-income parent to pay the parent who earns less a certain amount of money each month for the latter to spend on their children roughly equivalent to the amount they pay or would spend on them.
Our Salt Lake City child custody attorney Emy A. Cordano sums up that parents have to pay child support even when they share custody of their children equally, but the amount of child support payments will depend on both parents’ gross income and how much time each of them spends with the children.
If you believe that your child support order is unfair and/or the court used an inaccurate or biased formula when calculating child support payments in your divorce, consult with our divorce lawyers in Utah. Get a legal consultation by calling at 801-804-5152.