Navigating Your Child Custody and Child Support Situation

Child Custody Options

According to the  American Bar Association, child custody refers to the “right and duty to care for a child on a day-to-day basis and to make major decisions about the child.” One type of arrangement is sole custody, in which one parent takes care of the child, at least most of the time, and makes the major decisions for him or her. That parent would be known as the custodial parent; the other would be the non-custodial parent. In many instances, the non-custodial parent is given visitation rights, which could include overnight visits and even vacation options.

Joint legal custody, meanwhile, means that both parents make major decisions about school, religious training, health care, and so forth. If parents can’t agree, courts may require a mediator. With joint physical custody, both parents spend actual time with the child, perhaps alternating weeks or months. When parents cannot effectively reach these decisions themselves, the court becomes involved and decides based on best interests of the child.

Child Support Options

The next question of significance is who pays child support, and how much. The answer varies based upon the state in which you live because guidelines vary from state to state. Plus judges have some discretion about how closely they stick to these guidelines.

In general, the American Bar Association explains, the state will have a formula that typically factors in the “income of the parents, the number of children, and perhaps some other factors.” These formulas are devised after studying typical costs for raising children and are used to determine the amount of support that should be paid.

Generally speaking, there are two types of guidelines. One uses the income of the person who will be paying child support, along with the number of children needing support. The other model (income shares model) reviews the income of both parents along with the number of children. A parent expecting to receive child support can ask for more than the guideline recommends, based on special circumstances. Conversely, the parent expecting to pay can ask for less, citing special circumstances. Some states set up automatic review dates to ensure that child support meshes with current income levels of the parent(s) and current support guidelines.

Child Custody and Child Support Legal Services

These proceedings can seem overwhelming, and so legal advice and representation is often desired. Pleadings and affidavits may need to be prepared and filed, settlement agreements may need to be drafted, and representation in court may also be needed. Additional issues can include modifications and/or enforcement of child support orders, among other possibilities.

If one of your employees is going through this type of situation, it can be exceptionally stressful, which can spill over to the workplace. One way to help provide relief is through easy access to qualified attorneys who can provide quality counsel. Discover more about child custody and child support legal services benefits. Requesting a quote is fast and easy!