In many child custody cases in Massachusetts, parents end up with shared physical and legal custody. For joint custody cases, the parents share all of the responsibilities of raising their children. This often includes sharing the financial obligations associated with the costs of raising a child.
Because both parents are providing the financial funds to raise the child, courts often handle joint custody child support cases differently than sole custody cases. For sole custody, courts use the Child Support Standards Act Statute to determine how much in financial support the non-custodial ex will be required to pay. In Massachusetts, one parent may still have to make child support payments to the other parent even if there is a shared or joint custody agreement. In general, it is the non-residential parent who pays child support to the residential parent.
There are several factors that the courts consider when determining child support. These factors can include the ability of each parent to provide sufficient housing for the child and additional financial expenses that may arise as a result of the joint custody arrangement, such as child care expenses and travel costs. By providing child support, the transition from a single household to two households may be easier for the child.
Following a divorce or separation, determining where the child will live and how one or both parents will financially provide for the child can be a difficult process. While some parents are able to work together to come to agreements regarding parenting time and child support, others face major challenges. A family law attorney may assist with negotiating a child custody and visitation schedule or creating a shared parenting plan.