Child Support and Child Custody: It’s Always Complex

Child custody and child support are inextricably linked. Often, the amount of child support owed is based to some degree on how much time the child or children spend in each parent’s home. Some men, who object to having to pay child support, demand that custody presumptions be made that create equal time with both parents. This is done with the claim of fairness, but one suspects there may be an ulterior motive.

That motive is the desire to eliminate their obligation to pay child support. Their argument would be that if the child spends the same amount of time in each household, then they should owe no additional support for the children when they are with their mother. 

Of course, in a divorce, a Minnesota family court judge is often evaluating the marital property situation from the basis of what is equitable, not simply what is a 50/50 split. This typically occurs with the property division of the marital assets.

Child support is even more complex. In a situation where a father earns substantially more than the mother, even if they have shared joint physical custody, the father could still be required to pay child support.

There is a guideline formula set by the legislature that is used to generate the number, but it is subject to numerous, “deviation factors” that can affect the final amount ordered by the court. For anyone ordered to pay child support, it is very important to make those payments on time, and not to allow arrears to build up.

Arrears are bad for your children, and they can be very bad for a parent. These child support obligations are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The family court will presume you are capable of earning some income and absent very elaborate proof of a permanent loss of income, you are likely to be ordered to pay something.

Modifications of child support orders are possible, but they are not easily granted by the court. If you believe you need a modification, you should consult your attorney. They can help determine if a modification is possible in your case. And never just stop making payments, you must obtain the permission of the family court to change your child support obligation.