Joint custody is becoming an increasingly common option among Ohio parents who make the decision to divorce. As more fathers play an active, hands-on role in child-rearing and fewer mothers stay at home, joint custody is often a logical choice that supports the relationships of the children with both parents. Of course, the 50/50 joint custody scenario works best when both parents live relatively close together and share a common school district. Depending on the needs of a particular family, joint custody may look different for certain parents.
Joint child custody refers to shared legal and physical responsibility for the children. In some cases where the parents are more physically distant from one another, parents may share joint legal custody while one parent provides the children’s home for the majority of time. In other cases, children may switch between their parents’ homes on a weekly basis. Parents may wonder what impact a decision to pursue joint custody may have on child support.
Joint custody does not necessarily mean that no child support will be awarded. In some cases, a child support order may be reduced but not eliminated. In other cases, there may be clear guidelines about which parent is responsible for which expenses of the children, including school fees or medical costs. At other times, the parents may have a large wealth gap, and eliminating child support could mean a vastly varying standard of living for the child.
Child support orders are based on a formula that includes income, other children in the home and other factors. A family law attorney may work with a parent to pursue a child support and custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the children. This might include modifying a support order when moving toward joint custody or seeking to enforce a child support order for a recalcitrant parent.