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Child support and joint custody: what parents need to know

Child support obligations are usually determined by the regulations found in the Child Support Standards Act, but that all changes with joint custody. When parents share custody of a child, a variety of additional factors will need to be taken into consideration. In the state of Minnesota, a very specific formula is used to determine how much a parent will pay in child support if custody is shared.

If one parent is designated as the primary caregiver, then the other parent will almost always be required to pay child support. The judge must consider a few different variables including the income of both parents, the age of the child and how much time the child is going to spend with the primary caregiver. Once every few years, the parents can revisit the agreement to see if any changes need to be made to the child support obligations.

When parents have joint custody, the most important factor is the amount of time that the child spends at each household. The judge might decide that no one needs to pay child support as long as the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents. Divorcees also have the option of coming up with an agreement outside of court. Written and verbal child support agreements are legal as long as both parents consent.

Working with attorneys who have experience in family law may help divorced parents to come up with a fair agreement. The formulas that are used to determine child support are very complicated in most states, and it might not take much for divorce negotiations to escalate into heated legal battles. An experienced attorney may help make sure that all parties are treated fairly.

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Marvin Law Office, L.L.C.

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