child custody

How are child support and child custody determined?

Divorces occur frequently and families split, sometimes improving the quality of life for the entire family, and sometimes not. Children can find divorces especially hard. The goal of child custody and child support laws is to look out for the children involved in the divorce, and make sure their needs are put first. Children are the number one concern to splitting parents and courts alike, but figuring out what is fair and right can be a challenge. How is this determined?

This week we wanted to learn more about the current state of child custody and child support trends. And from the answers shared with us, it looks like the courts have come a long way in updating the process. For example, favoring maternal rights is a thing of the past.

We have put together the top advice and current patterns for child custody and child support laws into a compact list. Our top answers give us some insight into legal trends.

1) HOW CHILD SUPPORT IS DETERMINED

In many states, child support is largely determined by a formula based on income. The ultimate goal is to limit the disruption to the lifestyle the child has grown accustomed to. Attorney Michele Colucci of MyLawsuit.com explains:

“Child support is often calculated by using a formula based on income of each party. However, if the parents make over a certain income, then support may be determined by the lifestyle enjoyed by the couple during the marriage. The thinking behind this is that the divorce was not the fault of the children, and therefore their lives should change as little as possible.”

2) GENDER BIAS?

A common misconception for the past couple of decades is that women are favored in child custody battles. According to some, this has changed for the most part. Attorney Christina M. Scott of Scott Law Offices clears it up for us:

“The gender of a parent has no effect on this calculation. Arizona child support is based completely on the financial factors and parenting time. Even if the parents share the parenting time equally, one party may be entitled to child support if there is a disparity in income or one parent is responsible for the majority of the expenses.”

When calculating child support and child custody, the gender of the parent is not part of the equation in her practicing state of Arizona.

3) REMAIN LEVEL-HEADED IN COURT

Unsurprisingly, divorces stir up a great deal of emotion, particularly with child custody disputes. However, it is in both your best interest and the best interest of the child to remain civil in court. Bonnie Sockel-Stone of Foster-Morales Sockel-Stone gives us a better idea:

“Parents involved in litigation regarding parental responsibility or a timeshare schedule must always be reasonable and make efforts to facilitate a relationship between the other parent and the child. In fact, one of the Florida Statute 61.16 factors the Court considers in determining parental responsibility and a timeshare schedule is ‘the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.’” This means that your behavior in court can, quite literally, be a deciding factor in your custody arrangement.

4) EQUAL CUSTODY IS COMMON

Many states believe that it is in the best interest of the children to share custody with both parents. Attorney Rachna Goel of Jane Doe Advocacy Center shares her experience:

“In Missouri, the presumption is that it is best for a child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Thus, visitation schedules usually reflect an equal amount of time with each parent, unless there is some reason why it is better for a child to have less time with one of the parents.”

In general, courts are looking to assist in maintaining a healthy and happy life for children involved in divorce, which means they want to reach an equitable agreement. Parents who remain cooperative with one another and with the court should be able to fine a successful custody and child support agreement, with minimal stress to their kids.