Who Pays Child Support in Joint Custody (2022)

In joint custody cases, who pays child support and how much child support depends on several factors. First you will consider the incomes of both parties, and second, you will look at how many overnights the children spend every week with each parent. In the state of Georgia, when two parents share equal parenting time for the children, the parent who makes a higher income is the one who becomes responsible for paying child support.

Two Ways to Begin the Child Support Process

In Georgia, there are two ways to begin the child’s support process. One is to apply to the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services. This can be done online or in person.

The other way is to hire a family law attorney. This method usually requires filing a lawsuit against the other parent and allowing a judge to determine who should pay and how much.

The Income Shares Model in Determining Child Support

When child support is determined using the income shares model, the income of both parents is looked at. To keep it simple, if a mother earns $40,000 a year, and the father earns $80,000 a year, their combined shared income is $120,000. This means that the mother would be responsible for 1/3 of the support necessary for the children and the father would be responsible for 2/3. The state of Georgia utilizes the income shares model when calculating child support.

The above paragraph gives a simplified version of how child support is calculated in Georgia. It’s a step-by-step process that is useful to know.

Step One: Find out what each parent’s adjusted monthly gross income (income before taxes, insurance, and other deductions) is. Add up all of your income—tips, wages, salary, unemployment benefits, Social Security—any money that comes into the home except welfare. Subtract qualifying deductions like child support you receive for other children. That number is your adjusted gross income for the month. Do the same for the other parent.

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Step Two: Combine the two adjusted monthly gross incomes. This step is relatively simple. You just add both adjusted gross incomes together to get the combined adjusted gross income.

Step Three: Determine each parent’s percentage of income. Take each monthly gross income from step one and divide it by the combined adjusted monthly gross income (from step two). After you’ve divided, round that number to the second decimal place. This will tell you what their percentage of the monthly support income is.

Step Four: Check the combined basic support obligation from the Basic Child Support Obligation Table. Using the table, find your combined monthly gross income (from step two) in the column on the left-hand side. If your exact income isn’t listed, round down. Follow that row across to the column that indicates the number of children you are supporting. (For example, if you have two children, you would follow the row until you get to the column labeled for two children). The number in that column is your combined support obligation.

Step Five: Figure out how much basic support each parent is responsible for. This is done by taking the combined support obligation and multiplying it by each individual percentage of the gross monthly income (from step three); that number tells you the individual basic support obligation. The individual obligations are then rounded to the nearest whole number.

If one parent has primary or sole physical custody, the other parent will pay their basic obligation as their child support payment. When the parents have joint custody, whoever has the higher income pays, but they may not be ordered to pay their entire basic support obligation. If the parents have an equal income, typically, no one pays support.

The Court’s Discretion and Deviations

Who Pays Child Support in Joint Custody (1)

As with other issues in a divorce proceeding, the court has discretion in child support orders. In these cases, the judge can award more or less child support than is indicated by the guidelines based on what is known as deviations. Some standard deviations include:

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  • Unusual income amounts—either high or low—but voluntary unemployment isn’t considered.
  • The parenting time of each parent.
  • Who pays the premiums for health and life insurance policies.
  • Who pays any tuition or other school fees.
  • Who pays for transporting the children between the parents for visits.
  • Which parent claims the children on their taxes.

When the court calculates these deviations, it can add to or subtract from the amount of payable child support.

When There is Joint Custody

Another factor taken into consideration when child support is calculated is the number of overnights the child spends with each parent. If the child spends equal amounts of time with both parents, then child support is paid to the parent who makes less money. If the child lives more of the time with the parent who makes less money, that parent will be awarded a higher percentage of the child’s support.

Joint custody specifically refers to the number of overnights spent with each parent. Even if you see your child every day, if they don’t sleep at your house, that custody time doesn’t count when it comes to figuring out the child’s support.

Modifications to Child Support

Who Pays Child Support in Joint Custody (2)

After the child’s support order has been in effect for three years, a parent can request that it be changed or updated.

Before the three years are up, a parent must prove significant changes in circumstances to request a change in the child’s support. Those changes can include:

  • An income change
  • Unemployment
  • Disability
  • Being imprisoned
  • The child turning 18 within six months of the request

There is a $100 fee for modifications, but the court will waive the fee for parents on welfare or for those who earn less than $1,000 a month.

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Enforcement of Child Support

If you miss a child support payment, you can end up back in court. If you become more than 60 days behind in your support payments, your driver’s license can be suspended. There are other penalties as well, such as the seizure of wages or even imprisonment.

If you are fearful that your former spouse won’t pay support as they are ordered to do, you can request an order for income deduction. If the court grants your request, your support will automatically come out of their paycheck.

Other Details Regarding Child Support in Georgia

You can’t withhold child support because the other parent keeps you from the children. You also can’t withhold visits with the children if the other parent missed support payments.

Parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and receive support payments will lose a portion of their monthly support to the state.

Parents can request jury trials to decide matters regarding child support in a divorce case. The jury is charged with deciding whether the guideline set forth by the state is appropriate for the case. The cost of jury trials and the extra time they take make jury trials a rare occurrence.

Large expenditures not covered by a child’s support are typically split by both parents. Usually, the parent who has less time with the children is required to pay for health insurance for them. However, if the other parent can get better coverage at a better price, the court can order them to provide the insurance.

If you are struggling to meet yourchild support obligations or you believe you do not have a fair child support order, it’s time to meet with anattorney who can help you. Together we can discuss your finances and your current parenting plan to establish what you should be paying to support your children.

(Video) Do You Pay Child Support With Joint Custody Or Equal Time?

Related Content: What to Consider When Deciding Whether to File for Child Support

Who Pays Child Support in Joint Custody (3)

Lee Paulk Morgan

Lee Paulk Morgan

With more than 41 years of experience in the areas of Bankruptcy, Disability, and Workers’ Compensation, Lee Paulk Morgan is one of the most respected Bankruptcy and Disability attorneys in Athens, Georgia. His tireless dedication to serving clients has gained him the reputation of a premier attorney in his areas of practice, as well as the trust and respect of other legal experts, who often refer clients to him.

(Video) Are Child Support Payments Required if You Have Joint Custody


How do they figure child support in WV? ›

A child support order is determined by dividing the total child support obligation between the parents in proportion to their income. Both parents' adjusted gross income is used to determine the amount of child support.

Can parents agree to no child support in Oregon? ›

Do I need a child support order? ​Sometimes parents can agree on the amount of child support and handle the issue informally, without court or agency orders. This might be the situation if no divorce or child custody orders are needed.

Do you have to pay child support if you have 50/50 custody in Texas? ›

Many parents in Texas mistakenly believe that they will not be ordered to pay child support if a court awards 50/50 joint custody. However, you may still be ordered to pay child support even if you and the other parent share joint custody.

How does child support work in Nevada? ›

22 percent of the first $6,000 of a parent's gross monthly income, plus b. 11 percent of the portion of the parent's gross monthly income for any gross monthly income from $6,001 to $10,000, plus c. 6 percent of the portion of the parent's gross monthly income for any gross monthly income in excess of $10,000.

Do you have to pay child support if you have joint custody in WV? ›

In West Virginia shared custody, the nonresidential parent pays child support to the residential parent. In the case of a 50/50 split, the higher earner generally pays child support to the lower earner to ensure the children's standard of living is the same in both locations.

How much is child support monthly in WV? ›

If the adjusted gross income of both parents is below $550 per month, then child support will likely be $50 a month. If the adjusted gross income of both parents is above $15,000 a month, then a court could increase payments depending on the income amount above $15,000.

What is the average child support payment for one child in Oregon? ›

The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.

What is the most money child support can take? ›

Is there a limit to the amount of money that can be taken from my paycheck for child support?
  • 50 percent of disposable income if an obligated parent has a second family.
  • 60 percent if there is no second family.
Jul 20, 2016

Can child support take your whole paycheck Oregon? ›

If you are current in paying your support, the amount that can be withheld from your wages is the monthly support amount, but only up to a maximum of 50% of your take-home pay (up to 60% in some cases, if a court agrees after a hearing).

Should I pay child support with shared custody? ›

Do you pay child support with joint custody? The short answer is: yes. Shared parenting arrangements that include joint physical custody do not negate child support obligations between parents.

Do I have to pay child support if I have joint custody in Texas? ›

When parents have joint custody, child support is still paid. The court will decide the details of the child support, depending on certain details. Generally, the parent that does not have primary custody of the child, the noncustodial parent, pays the other parent, the custodial parent, child support.

Can parents agree to no child support? ›

A parent cannot make an agreement saying the other parent does not have to pay child support. But if parents can agree, they have some flexibility in setting the child support amount, as long as reasonable arrangements have been made taking into account the guideline amount.

What's the most child support can take? ›

Is there a limit to the amount of money that can be taken from my paycheck for child support?
  • 50 percent of disposable income if an obligated parent has a second family.
  • 60 percent if there is no second family.
Jul 20, 2016

How long does parent pay child support in WV? ›

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support? Until the child turns 18 so long as the child is unmarried and residing with a parent, guardian or custodian. Child support may be extended for up to 20 years of age if the child is attending college or a vocational program.

How do I lower my child support in WV? ›

A Petition for Expedited Modification of Child Support can be used ONLY to ask the court to modify child support. If you want to ask the court to modify an order in any other way, such as change a Parenting Plan, or change spousal support, you must file a regular Petition for Modification (SCA-FC-201).

Is there a statute of limitations on child support in WV? ›

(8) For any order of child support or spousal support, an action for judgment or an execution may issue at any time within fifteen years next after the date of the order or within fifteen years from the return day of the last execution or within fifteen years from the date of issuance of an administrative notice to ...


1. Do I have to pay child support if I have joint custody?
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2. Joint Custody and Equal Parenting Time | Shared Parenting vs Joint Custody
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3. Is child support paid when parents share kids 50/50?
4. In Florida, do I pay child support if I have 50 50 time sharing or joint custody with my child
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5. If Both Parents Share Equal Custody, Does Anyone Have To Pay Child Support?
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6. What's The Best Way To Pay Child Support
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