When a couple goes through a divorce, it is rarely an easy venture. If children are involved, a child custody and child support order may be added to the divorce decree. Mitigating factors in child support cases are numerous, but generally revolve around visitation, income, and agreements between the parties. If the child support arrangements are not agreed upon, lawyers for either party may argue for or against various factors in the case.
Family court judges will first look for any agreements between the parties. If there is an agreement, such as 50/50 visitation with no child support, then the judge will consider additional factors to determine if the arrangement is beneficial for the parents and the child. Mitigating factors in child support cases is common in family court cases, however, as parents tend to be in a defensive mode. Each parent wishes for their child or children to be in their custody, and likewise, each parent wants to receive child support from the other party.
Visitation rights and arrangements are one of number one mitigating factors in child support cases. If the custodial parent cares for the child 90% of the time, and the non-custodial parent has visitation every other weekend, for example, the family court judge will require the visiting parent to pay more in child support than if they had equal physical care of the child.
Financial situations are also a factor when determining the amount and frequency of child support payments. If both parents have an equal amount of income, and both care for the child 50% of the time, it is highly unlikely that either parent will be required to pay child support. At the same time, if the custodial parent has a lower income, especially if it is significantly lower, the non-custodial parent will be required to pay a percentage of their income for the care of the child or children. If there is more than one child, the non-custodial parent will pay more than they would otherwise.
In some child custody and child support cases, both parents will agree to forgo any child support requirements in favor of allowing 50/50 visitation rights and 50/50 shared expenses. These agreements are put on paper, yet there is nothing to say that the are or are not adhered to. If a couple prefers to remain outside of the child support system, which bars social services or other similar agencies from interfering in the care and support of their child, then a 50/50 arrangement is best.
In some child support cases, there is nothing to be determined. In some instances, both parents have already made the necessary arrangements, such as agreements to voluntary child support payments. In cases such as these, mitigating factors in child support issues do not play a role in the overall divorce decree, as there is nothing for the courts to approve or disapprove.