Joint/Legal Custody questions


#1

My ex and I are getting ready to go through custody mediation.We are leaning towards joint/legal custody (50/50).

Can anyone elaborate on what things we need to consider?

And my ex is volunteering to keep our daughter after school and during the summer while I work since he’s self-employed and has more free time. With him doing that, would that not change the 50/50 status since he’ll actually have her more during the year? He may have graciously volunteered to keep her in hopes of getting child support from me. Would it be better if I arrange for a sitter or daycamp for the summer? I know that there may be issues at the last minute where he won’t be able to keep her, and then I’ll be stuck with no one.

Another question…if we do 50/50 custody, do either one of us pay child support? I’ve heard that the parent who makes the most money would still have to pay regardless if we have joint custody. Is that correct?

And how is it decided as to who claims the child on their taxes??

And do we share the cost of clothing, school supplies, medical expenses, etc?

Thanks!


#2

We went through this recently. What worked best for us was “shared legal custody” with one parent being designated the primary custodian. The visitation schedule we eventually worked out is almost exactly 50/50. “Joint” custody is, I believe, somewhat of a misnomer in North Carolina – but ask your attorney.

As for child support, in our case the non-primary parent – whose income is about 50% more than the other – did end up paying a relatively small amount of child support (plus health insurance premium), since the support amount is partly derived from the number of nights per year the child stays with each parent. So, effectively, the more nights the non-primary parent kept the child, the less in child support had to be paid to the other party, which you have to admit, makes sense. (Interestingly, the non-primary parent had never shown much interest in numerous visitation nights – until the entire issue of child support came up, and the numbers showed the advantage to that parent of lots of nights…)

Hope this sheds at least a little light on a complicated subject…


#3

we have joint legal custody and the split is supposed to be 50/50 but we end up having my stepson more. The ex fought us tooth and nail on this - mostly because of the reduction in child support. We voluntarily offered to pay more than the state amount or else we knew she would continue to have objections. I would just sit down w/ a calendar and see what can be worked out to give you close to 50/50 - even if your ex is offering to keep her during the summer.


#4

I hope no one takes this the wrong way, I understand you have to consider every aspect when making decisions, but it bugs me when parents make decisions about how much time the child should spend with each parent based on how much it’s going to cost him/her. No offense, but you and your ex are both going from seeing your children daily to having to see them 50% of the time. The kids are going to have to adjust from seeing mom and dad everyday to however you decide to split it up. To tell your son or daughter, “Sorry, I know mom/dad can spend the summer with you, but if I let him/her, I might be on the hook for child support, so I’m getting you a babysitter instead” just sounds wrong to me. Especially when I’m sure the kids would jump at the opportunity to see either parent more often than they will be in the next few years.

And no, as far as CS is concerned, his keeping the kids after school/summer will not change the 50/50 unless they sleepover, so it will not change the amount of CS or who pays it. You’d probably end up having to pay more for the sitter than you would in CS anyways if it did make a difference.