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Family law: What to do about support when you share joint custody

New Jersey parents who choose joint child custody arrangements usually do so because it is in their children's best interests. However, this raises serious questions about child support. When both parents spend roughly equal amounts of time with their child, how does family law determine who pays? 

Research has demonstrated that -- barring extenuating or unique circumstances -- children tend to do better in joint custody arrangements. This switches up decades of precedents. Even just a few years ago one parent -- typically the mother -- automatically took on the role of primary custodian, and the other was relegated to one or two weekends a month and paying child support. 

If both parents are spending roughly equal amounts of time with their child, then it perhaps follows that they are both providing roughly equal amounts of financial support. Of course there are financial obligations that are not paid for on a daily basis, such as health care or school fees. Ultimately, it will probably come down to which parent earns more. However, some parents decide to establish a bank account to be used exclusively for the child's care, into which they both make regular and agreed upon deposits. 

The idea of paying child support to a parent who spends the same amount of time parenting can be uncomfortable, but ultimately the goal is to provide continued financial well-being for the child. This means that even in joint custody situations it may still be appropriate for one parent to pay support. However, since New Jersey family law can be complicated, it makes sense to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that any contemplated payment is fair and reflects the child's best interests.  

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