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Joint custody and parents' shared responsibility of child support

When a Colorado parent is granted sole physical custody of their child, it is common for the non-custodial parent to be required to pay child support for the benefit and care of the child. It is generally expected that the parent with whom the child resides will also financially contribute to the maintenance and welfare of the child. As such, child support is used to provide the child with the basics they need to grow and thrive, following their parents' separation or divorce.

Questions may arise if, instead of a sole physical custody scheme, parents are granted joint physical custody of their child. Parents who share in the physical custody of their offspring each spend time with the child in their home. Depending on the arrangement that the parents or court work out the parents may have different support commitments to make sure their child receives the support they need.

For example, if a child spends exactly half of their time in the custody of their mother and half in the custody of their father, it is possible that neither of the parents may be required to pay the other child support as each will take care of the child while they are in the parents' homes. But, many factors can influence this situation, such as the incomes of the parents and the needs of the child. A parent may have to pay child support, even if they have joint physical custody of the child if doing so serves the best interests of the child.

Readers of this Colorado family law blog are asked to speak with their divorce and family law attorneys about their child custody and support questions. This post presents a general overview of a complicated legal topic and readers are reminded that its contents are not to be read as legal advice or guidance.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
1820 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

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