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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102140
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Is child support mandatory, if parents have joint custody?

Customer Question

In the state of Colorado, if the parents have joint custody (1 week with the mom and 1 week with the dad) is child support mandatory. An agreement was in place as no child support would be owed, now one of the parents is requesting child support, also to have the parent who provides insurance to change the coverage.
The parenting plan was being put in place, one parent asked that any medical bills be split 50/50 after insurance, is that standard practice in Colorado?
We have two children, 1 child is 17 and refuses to see the other parent, the other child is 11 and custody is split evenly.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 12 months ago.
The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc. The courts generally do not like to split the custody 50/50 since this is hard on the child unless both parents agree to this.
One parent usually becomes the custodian and the other parent becomes the "visiting" parent which is generally one day a week, every other weekend, and alternating holidays. The nuanced points of the custody can either be decided by the parties or the Court, if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Even if a parent does not get managing custody, they are almost guaranteed visitation unless they have a drug problem, alcohol dependency, or an unsafe home environment. Abuse and or neglect of the child or previous children are an almost automatic bar for even visitation, although supervised visitation may be granted by the Court.
Of course, that is the standard order of possession. That order can be modified if both parties agree or if the Court finds that it is an extraordinary situation.
The visiting parent pays child support to the custodian, unless the custodian declines it. All states have a preset salary percentage calculation for child support, but this can be altered if both parties agree to a lesser or higher amount or do not put child support in the orders all-together; the Court will only impose default child support if the parties cannot agree. The party paying child support also normally provides insurance and co-payments are split 50/50.
If the parties agree to a non-standard visitation as in 1 week to each parent, then they are also likely to agree to child support (or lack thereof) since neither has the child majority of the time. If so, then the Court should simply sign off on this provided it is agreed upon. The same with insurance - the parties can agree. If not, the Court can decide what it thinks is fair.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting.

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