One of the most frequently asked questions relative to child support (other than "how much will child support be?"), is whether there is a relationship between parenting time and child support. The answer to this question varies. There is a credit received for overnight parenting time in the Child Support Guidelines. As a result, if a non-custodial parent exercises overnight parenting time, he or she will see a decrease in his or her child support obligation. The reality is that this credit does not result in such a significant decrease that it is highly noticeable in most cases. The decrease can become more noticeable, however, if the parties are exercising a true shared 50-50 parenting schedule. Naturally both scenarios depend upon other variables in the case, such as the incomes of the parties, number of children, etc.
On the contrary, when it comes to the right to withhold either child support or parenting time as a result of the absence of the other, this is clearly frowned upon. Simply put, a non-custodial parent cannot refuse to pay child support simply because he or she does not see the child. In the alternative, a custodial parent cannot refuse the other parent parenting time simply because he or she does not pay child support. In this regard, child support and parenting time are completely independent of one another. In any instance, it is advisable to speak with an experienced family law attorney should you have concerns regarding child support issues.
Posted by Robyn E. Ross, Esq.