Questions and Answers

How does joint custody affect child support?

My sons father has filed for joint custody to lessen his child support payment, I was served with papers today and have 30 days to respond. What should I do? How does joint custody affect child support? Can I counter sue for full custody?

Answer

It is important to know whether or not there is an existing custody order in your case. If so, the father will have to prove that there has been a material (important) change in circumstances that warrants the Court giving him more time with the child. To answer your question, child support is based on the number of overnights that a child spends with each parent.

Once a parent has at least 128 overnights scheduled each year with the child his child support goes down. The more overnights the less the child support. This makes sense because the more a child is with a parent the more expense that parent incurs for food, utilities, clothing, repairs, and the need for a bigger residence. Usually a parent doesn’t save any money by having the child with him/her more — so it’s ironic that many parents will fight for more time to save money (although most parents just want to have time with their child). Based on this maybe you could work out a schedule with the Dad and then run the child support guidelines to see what he has to pay.

Either way you should file an Answer within 30 days. You can pick up a blank Answer (Form DR50) on line: www.courts.state.md.us or you can drive to the Court and get a form.

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