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If I Get Joint Custody, Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support?

Historically, when couples divorced, the mother would get primary custody of the children and fathers would get visitation. That was the norm for decades, but in the last 20 years, we’ve seen a societal shift where there are a lot more women in the workforce and more female breadwinners than ever before. Not only that, but stay-at-home fathers have grown in popularity and in effect, the family courts have stopped giving mothers preferential treatment in child custody matters.

These days, the California courts are gender neutral when it comes to child custody cases. In the absence of domestic violence, substance abuse, and severe mental illness, the family courts encourage a strong bond between a child and the child’s mother and father, which helps children cope with divorce better. Often, this encouragement translates to joint custody arrangements where the mother and father have equal or almost equal parenting time with their children following a divorce.

50/50 Custody & Child Support

If you’re seeking a 50/50 child custody arrangement in the San Diego Area, you may be wondering, “If I get joint custody, does this mean I won’t have to pay child support?” It depends on the facts of your case.

If you earn more money than the other parent, the family court could still order you to pay some child support, even if you have the children for slightly more than half the time. If you’re not ordered to pay child support, the court will likely order you to share the costs of the children’s uninsured medical expenses, and childcare (employment-related).

Essentially, what we’re trying to say is that if you get 50/50 physical custody of your children, and you earn more than your spouse, there is no guarantee that you won’t have to pay some child support. If you earn a lot more than your spouse, the chances are higher that you could be ordered to pay child support, though we cannot estimate just how much without knowing the details of your particular case.

Contact us today to request a free consultation with a San Diego family lawyer.