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.