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Do I still have to pay child support if we have shared custody?

Many people have the faulty belief that shared custody automatically means that they won't have to make child support payments. In fact, some parents may pursue shared or joint custody solely for this reason even when such arrangements may not, in fact, be best for the children. While it's true that some shared custody arrangements may result in no child support or very little, it is not an absolute.

The custody arrangement does have an impact on the child support order. In general, the more equal the time share, the less the child support will be because the parents are likely spending their share of the financial support during their time. However, child support is dependent on several other factors.

The most important is the parents' incomes. If one parent is making significantly more than the other, that parent may still be making child support payments even if they have a true shared parenting arrangement with regard to time spent with the child. However, shared custody doesn't always mean equal time. It can refer to legal custody only which would mean that both parents simply have equal say in the decisions involving the children.

If you have questions about what your custody arrangement could mean for your child support order, the best course of action is to discuss the particulars of your case with a family law attorney familiar with the laws and guidelines in Texas. After this, you will have a better idea of how much your child support payments are likely to be and how the different custody arrangements could affect it.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Truths Behind Child Support Myths," July 05, 2016

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