We split in January and I have been paying ever since. We were never married but have been together for around 10 years. Can I get joint custody & child support goes down? I want full since living with me will give my boys a better way of life & a cleaner home.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Joint custody does not change your child support obligation. Child support is determined based on who has residential custody of the children.
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Whichever parent has the children the majority of the time will be the "primary" custodial parent, even if you have "joint" custody. The parent who does not have primary custody pays child support to the parent who does. When deciding child support, the court can consider the amount of time the children spend with each parent. For a more specific answer, consult with a local attorney who can review your entire situation with you in confidential detail. Good luck!
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Physical custody is issue for child support. Joint legal custody is not factor in child support.
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Even if you have shared physical custody as close to a 50:50 split of residential custody with each parent, the parent who has the greater income is deemed to be the "non custodial parent" who is obliged to pay the full amount of child support based on the NYS percentages under the Child Support Standards Act (17% for one child, 25% for two, 29% for three, etc.).
As to who is custodial parent under a traditional sole physical custody arrangement with the non-custodial parent paying child support, that will be determined by what is in the best interests of the child, including the child's wishes as expressed to the Attorney for the Child, which are taken into account more as the child gets older and into his teenage and high school age years.
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Joint Custody in itself does not create a deviation factor on a child support calculation. Instead, the Court has discretion, depending on numerous factors (but primarily incomes of the respective parties and access time enjoyed by the non-custodial parent) to deviate from the proposed guidelines amount. If you have "full" custody, or even primary custody (meaning the children reside with you 51% or more of the time), then you would pay no child support & indeed should receive child support from the other parent. In any event, I advise you to schedule a free consultation with a Westchester Family Law attorney for a full assessment.
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