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Can joint custody affect child support?

When parents share legal and physical custody of their children after a divorce or separation, this is generally referred to as joint custody. As more Illinois families are composed of two working parents and their children, joint custody has become an increasingly popular solution. According to a joint custody plan, both parents should share the financial responsibility for raising their children as well as the physical effort of doing so. This may make parents wonder about the impact that joint custody could have on a child support order.

Child support payments are generally based on a state formula that takes several factors into account, including income and the number of children that each parent has. Traditionally, child support is a financial contribution by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent who bears the majority of the physical and financial aspects of child-rearing. However, joint custody agreements do not necessarily mean that child support obligations are eliminated; the relationship between child support and joint custody varies depending on the individual family situation.

Parents who share joint custody may have a court-ordered agreement to cover specific costs for the children, like school fees, medical bills or extracurricular costs. In some cases, without such an order, a situation of financial inequality could easily develop. At other times, parents may share joint legal custody, but one parent retains primary physical custody and a more traditional child support arrangement may be the most appropriate.

Parents who decide to divorce have many decisions to make related to child custody, child support and other key issues. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing spouse to advocate for a fair parenting plan that honors the parent-child relationship. A lawyer may help develop an agreement that formalizes child support and custody arrangements between the parents.

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Schlueter Ecklund & Davitt
4023 Charles Street
Rockford, IL 61108

Toll Free: 800-207-5133
Phone: 815-516-8264
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