For those dealing with divorce, two very important topics are likely to arise. Both parents likely want to figure out both custody issues and child support payments sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, these two topics tend to be contentious, especially when the judge rules in favor of joint custody. That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced Denver divorce attorney for your case.
At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C., we are Colorado’s most respected family law firm. We’re also highly successful in resolving complex parental responsibility issues. If you need a skilled and knowledgeable Denver child support lawyer, contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C. One of our top priorities is to assist parents all across Colorado in obtaining fair child custody and child support agreements. To arrange a consultation with our experienced Colorado family law attorneys, please call our office at 303-951-4506 today.
Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody
Two main forms of child custody are crucial when negotiating a parenting plan. These forms are physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody relates to the child’s primary residence and which parent will be responsible for their daily care. This is what most people imagine when they think about custody. One parent usually has “primary physical custody,” while the other has “secondary physical custody.” In certain situations, the parties share “joint physical custody” and parenting time equally.
Legal custody, the second form of custody, refers to the parent’s authority to make choices on behalf of the children. This includes decisions concerning a child’s education, non-emergency medical needs, extracurricular activities, religious practice, and other matters. In the great majority of situations, the parents share legal custody of their children. Only in the most severe cases do judges grant one parent given sole legal custody.
What is Joint Custody?
Parents share responsibility for the child under joint custody orders. Unlike sole custody, when one parent has complete control over the child’s upbringing, joint custody involves both parents actively participating in the child’s development. Joint custody might be physical custody, legal custody, or a combination of the two.
The majority of people think that physical custody refers to the child’s residence. If a judge gives exclusive physical custody to one parent, the child will live with that parent. They generally move back and forth between the parents’ homes if the parents have shared physical custody. You might be held in contempt of court if you have shared legal custody and refuse to let the other parent participate in the decision-making process.
What Is Shared Custody?
Both parents have legal physical custody of their kid under shared custody. In their separate residences, both parents spend roughly the same amount of time caring for the child. In most cases, this works best when both parents agree on a routine. If that isn’t possible, the judge will decide who has primary custody of the child. They could also set up a visiting schedule.
In this sort of custody agreement, legal parental rights may or may not be shared. Important choices about the child’s healthcare, education, and/or religion may be left to one of the parents if they are not shared. When parents share the rights, both parents must collaborate for the child’s best interests. To understand more about the precise aspects to consider with joint custody, speak with an expert divorce lawyer in Denver.
Do I Have to Pay Joint Custody Child Support?
Yes, to put it simply. Child support responsibilities between parents are not affected by shared parenting agreements that involve joint physical custody. However, there are a number of important circumstances that might influence the amount of joint custody child support due.
When one parent has sole physical custody, child support payments are usually the responsibility of the other parent. These child support payments assist the custodial parent in supporting their children with shelter, food, clothes, and other essentials.
When physical custody is split, both parents will be responsible for supplying such necessities to their children on their own. Because of this, some co-parents may believe that their state’s child support laws do not apply to them, but this is simply not the case.
Judges in some states have discretion when it comes to deviating from the state’s child support rules, and some may opt to do so in instances involving shared physical custody. However, deviations from traditional child support formulas may still result in one parent being accountable for child support payments in some manner.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
The Colorado Child Support Guidelines are intended to ensure that each parent’s income and resources are distributed fairly to their children. The calculation is based on what the parents would have spent on the child if they hadn’t divorced. The following can be included in the equation.
- Gross income of both parents before taxes
- Any income of the child
- The number of overnight stays the child has with each parent
- Health insurance, daycare, and other expenses related to the child
- Other child support orders, financial support given to children that one parent has with another partner, and alimony payments
Who Pays Joint Custody Child Support?
If you have 50/50 custody, you can still pursue child support. In instances when the parents’ incomes are unequal, the court may mandate child support. When one parent earns more than the other, the court may feel it is unfair to the children to rely only on the income of the lower-earning spouse while in their custody.
The court calculates child support as if each parent has primary custody in most situations of shared custody. They figure out how much each parent would pay if they were the one who had to pay. The lesser sum is then adjusted against the greater by the court. The court offsets and directs the higher-earning parent to pay the difference, or $400, if the first parent pays $1,000 and the second parent pays $600. The earnings of the paying parents are different in each situation.
What if My Spouse Won’t Let Me See My Kids?
If your spouse refuses to let you visit your children, you must utilize the legal system to defend your parental rights. You may have various alternatives if you have a custody order and/or parenting plan formed as part of a separation or divorce. You can return to court and ask for the order to be implemented. Your spouse might be placed in contempt of court and possibly imprisoned if he or she refuses to attend court or does not cooperate. You might also seek assistance from local law enforcement in implementing your custody agreement. In rare circumstances, a parent who refuses to give their children access, hides them, or departs with them can be prosecuted with parental abduction.
If you don’t have a custody order and your spouse refuses to let you see your children, the process of gaining access to them may become more difficult. You’ll need to file a petition with the court, requesting custody. You and your spouse may be ordered to participate in court-mandated mediation to try to reach an agreement on custody on your own, or the judge may review the facts provided during litigation and decide how custody should be shared. When considering how parenting time should be divided and what visitation is acceptable, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the children.
Contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton P.C. Today
No matter what issues you have with child support obligations or payments, the attorneys of Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C. are here for you. We handle all manner of cases related to not only child support, but also divorce in Colorado. For more information on your child support options, or to arrange a consultation with a qualified attorney, please call our office at 303-951-4506 today.