Child Support Adjustment for Shared Parenting Arrangements

More parents are entering into shared parenting arrangements for custody and visitation. Even when the parties have completely equal parenting time with the children, there is still a child support obligation by the party that earns more.

Child support is determined by the child support guidelines. The guidelines break down expenses into three categories: (1) fixed expenses (38%); (2) variable expenses (37%), and (3) controlled expenses (25%). Controlled expenses include clothing and other miscellaneous expenses. It is assumed that the Parent of Primary Residence pays for these items. However, in a truly shared parenting arrangement, both parties pay for controlled expenses. Therefore, the child support guidelines need to be reduced in a true shared parenting arrangement to account for the controlled expenses.

The Appellate Division, in the case of Wunsch-Deffler v. Deffler, provides for the formula to back out the controlled expenses included in the child support guidelines. The result is a reduced child support figure. It is important that you choose an attorney that understands the Wunsch-Deffler analysis for calculating child support in shared parenting arrangements.