There are many factors that go into determining how much child support a parent will be required to pay after a divorce. Child support can be essential to the health and well-being of a child, so it is important to ensure that an amount is calculated using the most accurate possible information. Factors that are often crucial to a child support calculation include income, assets, geographic location, and timeshare.

Timeshare, which is also known as custody percentage, reflects the percentage of time a child is in the physical custody of each parent. This calculation is important because support often falls on the shoulders of the parent who spends the least amount of time with the child. The more time a parent spends with their child, the less they will likely be required to pay in child support.

Determining Custody Percentage

In California, there are specific guidelines that aid in determining a parent’s custody percentage. These guidelines, which can be found in the Child and Spousal Support Calculator, are tied directly to the custody arrangement in place for a child. Calculations are made based on the amount of time the non-custodial parent spends with the child.

It is important to map out your custody arrangement – down to the hour – in order to accurately calculate your custody percentage. With each additional hour you spend with your child, the greater your timeshare will be.

For example, if you have custody of your child one weekend every month, your timeshare will be 6.58%. Your timeshare will increase to 9.86% if you have custody for an “extended” weekend every month. A typical weekend begins on Friday evening and ends on Sunday evening. An extended weekend, on the other hand, begins on Friday evening but ends on Monday morning. These extra few hours increase your custody percentage by more than 3%.

Common Child Custody Arrangements and Timeshares

Certain child custody arrangements are more common in Los Angeles than others. Here are some of the most popular child custody arrangements and the corresponding timeshare for the non-custodial parent.

Alternating Weekends

Many parents decide that a child should be able to stay with his or her non-custodial parent every other weekend. In this arrangement, the custodial parent has custody for 85.75% of the year, while the non-custodial parent has custody for 14.25% of the year.

Alternating Weekends, Some Holidays, and Part of the Summer

Many child custody arrangements allow for both parents to have custody of their child for certain holidays and breaks from school. If an arrangement allowed the non-custodial parent to have custody on alternating weekends, for half of all holidays, and two weeks each summer, the non-custodial parent would have custody of the child for 18.90% of the year. If the summer arrangement were extended to cover half of the summer, the timeshare would increase to 22.47%.

School Breaks

Sometimes parents don’t live close enough to one another for frequent changes of custody to make sense. Many times, arrangements are made to allow the non-custodial parent to have custody of the child whenever school is not in session. This means that the child will live with the non-custodial parent during the summer and for the duration of all extended school breaks (e.g., winter, Thanksgiving, spring). In these arrangements, the non-custodial parent’s timeshare is 31%.

Half and Half

Sometimes parents will try to split custody as equally as possible. Some arrangements allow the child to live with the non-custodial parent for 3 days in one week, followed by 4 days the next week. This pattern continues for the duration of the year. In these situations, the non-custodial parent will have a timeshare of 49.9%.

Designing Your Child Custody Agreement

The non-custodial parent is typically responsible for shouldering child support payments. Since the custodial parent spends more time with the child, they are contributing to the child’s well-being on a daily basis. Child support helps to make sure that the non-custodial parent is also involved in taking care of their child.

If you want to minimize your child support requirements it will be important to design a custody plan that maximizes the time you spend with your child. Child support is often directly related to how much time you and your child are together. The more time you spend apart, the more you’ll be expected to pay in child support.

Los Angeles Child Support Attorneys

Are you in the middle of divorce or separation? Do you need help calculating your child support requirements? Contact the Los Angeles family law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney for help. Our Certified Family Law Specialists will help you design a plan that works for you and your family.