Search Site
Child Support in Shared Custody Cases

Child Support in Shared Custody Cases

Most child support guidelines present a formula for calculating child support where the parents share custody of the child or children.

Definition of Shared Custody

Shared physical custody means that both parents share the obligation of providing shelter, food, clothing, and the other expenses of raising a child. It is not necessary that custody be equally divided between the parties for shared physical custody. In many states, shared custody is defined in terms of the number of nights the child or children spend with each parent. In most states it is a minimum of either 35 percent of the nights (128 nights) or 40 percent of the nights (146 nights). Because the calculation often results in a lower child support award, parents in states that define shared custody in terms of the number of nights often fight over the number of nights with each parent, even when they agree to joint legal custody. A parent who has the child every other Saturday night and a week in the summer does not share custody. The arguments occur where the parent has every other week-end from Friday night until Sunday night or Monday morning, half of the winter and spring school break, extended holiday week-ends, and most of the summer. The parents will dispute each period of visitation to maximize or minimize the number of nights.

States such as Minnesota do not require a minimum number of nights to establish shared custody. These states require that the arrangement between the parents constitute sharing the “routine daily care and control and the residence of the child.” Even in states which require a minimum number of nights, a parent may argue that the child or children spend 10 weeks during the summer with that parent and as a result, the parent must provide shelter, clothing, food, and other expenses for an extended period of time. The argument is that this should be considered shared custody. Some states and some judges, but not all, will agree. On the other hand, where a parent is granted shared physical custody, but fails to exercise the rights of custody by failing to take and care for the child or children, many court will not place emphasis on the language of the custody arrangement, but will provide child support based on the true circumstances.

Calculation of Child Support

The calculation of child support in shared custody cases takes into consideration that each parent must provide housing, food, clothing, and other direct expenses. The method of calculating basic child support is very similar in many states. The first step is to determine the child support rate based on the combined income of both parents and the number of children of the parties covered by the child support order. This base rate is multiplied by 1.5 to get the adjusted rate to reflect the fact that both parents must provide housing, food, clothing, and transportation for the children. This adjusted rate is then divided between the parties based on the number of nights spent with each parent and the income of each parent. To this base amount is added the pro-rated costs for health case, work related day care, and schooling.

Experienced Legal Representation in Lubbock

Help with your divorce, child custody, or other family law issue is only a call away. Contact Robert Reid McInvale toll-free at 833-884-3087, or complete our online contact form.

Come meet us at our convenient location:

1001 Main St.
Suite 801
Lubbock, TX 79401
Serving all of West Texas

Your case can be handled by Reid McInvale in YOUR county of residence or any other county in the Greater Lubbock Area and the entire State of Texas.

Call for an appointment:

Main number 806-747-2602
Toll-Free Number: 833-884-3087

Contact us for help with your divorce, child custody, or other family law issue
Robert Reid McInvale Attorney Photo
Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Lubbock. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

What our clients are saying

  • yelp

    Highly recommend him! Excellent legal representation. Highly skilled, held in high regard in the legal network, professional, intelligent and gets the results you need.

    Read more

    Marianne K.

  • google

    I rarely take time to post online reviews but our experience with Reid McInvale has been so good that I want to do whatever I can to help other people find this attorney. it was overwhelming when we started looking for a divorce and child custody att...

    Read more

    Cheryl Wiker

  • google

    Don't waste your time and money searching and interviewing other lawyers. Mr. McInvale did my custody case in 2010 and I have always returned to him when I had an issue or a question. He is a very truth speaking and up front attorney. He is NOT like ...

    Read more

    Mandi Friestad

  • google

    Mr.McInvale gets the job done. Most definitely willrecommend him and consider in the future as necessary to family & friends! If you need a Divorce call him.

    Read more

    Julia Coleman

See all reviews
Contact us

Quick Contact Form