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Understanding child support obligations with joint custody

Determining child support can be one of the most difficult and complicated aspects of getting divorced. Child support is typically determined by the Child Support Standards Act, but that statute doesn't address joint custody. In order to determine joint custody obligations, parents and their legal representatives must sift through quite a bit of information. Here is a closer look at some of the factors that are used to determine child support in Arizona and other states throughout the country.

Every state has a slightly different formula when determining joint custody obligations, but most take a few key variables into consideration. That includes the amount of time spent with each parent, the number of children in the family and the total income of each household. In some states, joint child support is determined by nothing more than the income of each parent and the total number of days spent with them every month. If the child spends an equal amount of time in both households, then the court might decide that no one should pay child support.

Most states allow parents to settle on an oral or written agreement as long as both parties consent. Even though oral agreements are legally binding, parents should be wary of accepting any agreement that isn't in writing. Those agreements are often too vague, and they rarely account for future expenses such as extra-curricular activities, vacations and emergency hospital visits.

Having a legal representative by one's side throughout this process may help a parent come up with a fair child support agreement. An attorney who has experience in family law may help parents establish an agreement that is flexible enough to account for current and future expenses such as medical bills, entertainment, clothing and transportation.

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