Both parents have an obligation to provide support for their children.
The amount of support is determined using a guideline formula that looks at a number of factors including, number of children requiring support, percentage of time the children reside with each parent, gross income of each parent from all sources, health insurance payments, and childcare costs.
The guideline formula is determined by each individual state and the District of Columbia and varies from state to state.
There is some discretion in how the guideline formula is applied depending on the specific situation.
Child Custody And Visitation
Everyone benefits from a negotiated cooperative child custody agreement, especially the child involved.
In determining the custody of a child pursuant to a divorce, you can retain control over the outcome by negotiating an agreement with your spouse as to custody and visitation.
There are many types of custody arrangements. Several are outlined below:
- Physical custody means that a parent has the right to have the child live with him or her. When a child lives primarily with one parent, this parent will have physical custody and the other parent will have visitation rights. Sometimes the husband and wife share physical custody.
- Legal custody means that a parent has the right and obligation to make major decisions regarding the raising of the child. This may include decisions regarding health care, education, religion, extracurricular activities, etc. Sometimes the parties share legal custody. This means that they share the decision-making process concerning the child.
- Sole custody can take several forms. It means that one parent has sole legal custody, sole physical custody, or sole legal and physical custody of the child.
- Joint custody can vary from situation to situation. The parents can share legal custody, physical custody or both. If the parties share physical custody, they must work out an appropriate schedule that meets their needs and the needs of the child.
There are many different visitation arrangements ranging from a fixed visitation schedule, which details times and places for visitation with the non-custodial parent, for example every other weekend or twice a week, etc. This type of arrangement also sets up a schedule for holidays and vacations.
Another arrangement is one of “reasonable visitation” which allows the parents more flexibility by considering the schedules of the parents and the child on a week to week or month to month basis in determining how much time the child will spend with the non-custodial parent.
Here again, being represented by an attorney who is a skilled negotiator benefits both parents and the child by giving more control over the outcome to the people involved.