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Father with 60% timeshare still pays child support - why?

Your Question:
After years of court dates my husband finally settled custody of my seven year old step daughter. We have split custody(both legal and physical)however we have her in our home 60% of the time and she goes to school in our town. We pay for all of her activities(dance, Girl Scouts, swim and Camp in the summer) and we pay her mother $50.00 per week. How is this considered fair? When I spoke with someone at DOR they told me someone needs to be considered the custodial parent and in this case they have given that label to the mother even though the child is with her only on the weekends. How do we get that label for ourselves. we should not be responsible to support the child when she is with us just like we do with our children who are three and two, and pay child support on this child and she receives assistance for this child from the state. Why is this child being supported three times?

Sincerly, Confused

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My Answer:

Thanks for writing.

Your first question is, "How is this considered fair?"

A common misconception that people have about family law is that it's about fairness and justice. This isn't the case. Laws are structured, supposedly, in a way that supports best interest of a child. So, toss out your expectation for "fairness."

The explanation for making a 40% parent the "residential" parent sounds odd to me. Check with an attorney in your area on that.

Many states determine child support by looking at three things: 1) Mom's income, 2) Dad's income, 3) timeshare in each home. The formulas are often very complex. You may want to double-check your numbers with an attorney, but if the mother's income is at zero-- and she's incapable of earning much-- you may be paying the correct amount for your state.

As another example of how things just don't seem "fair", I've calculated that I would need 82% timeshare before I stop paying child support to the mother. This is because I earn more than she does, and that's how my state's child support guideline formula works.

Sorry I couldn't help more. Only an attorney in your area (i.e., who knows your state laws) can give you definitive answers. May be worth spending $150 or so on an initial consultation.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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