It can be easy to confuse child support and visitation time. The two actually have very little connection. You cannot increase or decrease the amount of time that you get to visit your child by paying or not paying your child support. You also cannot change the amount of time you have with your child by trying to increase or decrease the amount you pay. The two things are tied together for only two reasons: calculating payment, and failure to obey one or the other.
How Child Support and Custody Are Decided
Child support is typically decided by a formula consisting of the salaries of each parent and the amount of time that each parent has custody of the children. The division of custody is usually decided based on the welfare of the children and individual state’s policies. Some states give more time equally to both parents than others, but generally, custodial parents have somewhere between 50-80% custody of the children. The two issues or decided separately, without regard to the other matter.
Sometimes one parent or the other will act irresponsibly. The custodial parent can cruelly withhold parenting time from the noncustodial parent. Sometimes, to regain that time, the noncustodial parent will consider stopping payment of their child support. Stopping support would be an incredibly bad mistake. In the first case, the custodial parent is in contempt of court. By withholding child-support, the noncustodial parent would only be placing themselves in an equally unlawful position. The reverse can also happen – if the noncustodial parent doesn’t pay child support, the custodial parent should not use parenting time against them.
There is also no connection between the amount of money that parents can pay and the amount of time the state grants them with their child. Whether a parent can pay $5 towards child support or $5,000, the amount of time that they will be given to spend with their child will not be affected. As noted earlier, the formulas for calculating child-support make use of the amount of time decreed for custodial visitation to create the payment schedule for child support. But the custody is treated as a separate issue. So, there is no concern that the amount the parent can pay will have any impact on the amount of time they get to see their child.
Divorce is heartbreaking for parents. No one wants to lose time with their children. One thing you don’t need to worry about, though, is whether your child support amount will affect how much time you get to see your kids.
If you have questions like these or need to file for custody or child support, contact a child support lawyer, like a family lawyer in Lake Forest, IL, today. They are here to help!
Thank you to the experts at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC., for their input into family law.