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Joint custody, which parent pays child support?

Sacramento, CA |

Custody was recently, 11/16/11, changed from mother having full custody to us having joint legal custody and child residing with me and going to school and seeing mother every other wknd, alternate holidays, and every other week in the summer.Who would be ordered to pay child support in this case? Also the mother isn't working and has only worked for a month in the last year. Would I be ordered to pay her support for the time when she has the child with her?Also, the mother is trying to tell me that I owe her back support;however, there has NEVER been an order for support.We had come to an agreemen outside of court and I was paying her an amt she ask for before custody was changed to joint.So, how would I be ordered to pay her for back support if there was never order for it?

Mother also is trying to say that because she was on welfare for herself and the child since we split up that means I owe back child support since the time we split.Doesn't make sense to me.I think she just doesn't want me to take her to court for child support;however,I feel she should be contributing to the financial costs of raising our child.Her and I had come to an agreement outside of court a few mths back on support for me to pay her BEFORE the custody was changed.Why she didn't take it to court I have no idea.Especially if she thinks I owe her back support.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Child support is determined by a legal formula which utilizes the parties' income and time share. There are many circumstances where support is due to the parent with less custody time. The court's interest is in some equalization of the standard of living between the two households.

    Generally, claims for back support without an order or stipulation are difficult to sustain. However you mentioned that you had "come to an agreement". A court might order some payment depending upon the circumstances and legal arguments.

    This answer does not make me your attorney. My answer was only intended to provide general information and cannot be construed as legal advice. No attorney can offer advice without detailed background information which may reveal hidden issues and concerns impossible to anticipate in this format. This response does not establish an attorney/client relationship. I do not check this website regularly, so I may not respond to further postings here. I strongly advise the reader to seek the counsel of a qualified attorney or consult a legal self-help center in their local jurisdiction as laws, rules, and procedures vary from place to place. IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, please be advised that any U.S. Federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used or relied upon, and cannot be used or relied upon, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.


  2. 1. You would be awarded child support.
    2. Mother would still be awarded to pay child support unless she has some proof, like a medical disability showing she cannot work and earn and income. Child support can be based on minimum wage for your state.
    3. Generally, there is no back support if there was no pending case or court order.


  3. Until the incomes of the parties, the time, and other statutory factors are plugged into the formula that is used to calculate child support, no one can determine the amount of child support and who pays. An agreement without a court order is likely unenforceable. In any case the custodial parent and the time share has changed on 11-16-11.

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