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Legal representation can help protect your interests and your children's future

One of the greatest challenges of divorce is determining what is best for the children.  Battles over child support and custody can bring hostility into an otherwise amicable divorce.  While most divorcing parents want the best for their kids, a case can easily become heated when they disagree.

How is child support decided?

There are two primary factors in calculating a parent’s child support obligation.  The first is to compare the income of each party and the second is to factor in the custody arrangement.  Income is calculated by using each parent’s gross income (amount earned before taxes).  These figures are then combined with how much time the children spend with each parent. 

One common misconception about child support is that if each parent has shared (nearly equal) time with the children, then support is not factored in.  Often, where one parent earns considerably more than the other, he or she can expect to pay child support.  This, however, may be adjusted if one parent spends significantly more time caring for the children. 

There is also room for adjustment depending on specific situations.  For example, if a lower-earning parent is determined unfit and therefore loses all parental rights, the higher-earning parent will not have to pay child support.  Another important point to remember is that child support and alimony are separate; just because a parent is not required to pay one, they may still be required to pay the other.

During and after a divorce, which parent gets custody?

Divorcing parents must decide with whom the children will spend their time.  The easiest solution to this is when both parents agree on a custody arrangement.  However, getting two opposing parties to agree can be difficult and often leaves the issue of custody for the court to decide.

Once the discussion has moved to the courtroom, the judge’s top priority and emphasis will be the best interests of the children.  This usually includes close evaluations of the parents, children, and their interaction with each other.  A judge will scrutinize these relationships, determine if there is any history of domestic violence in the home, and make geographical and scholastic considerations for each child.

Working out the best possible solution for child custody and support is delicate matter.  It is therefore important to be represented by a qualified and experienced divorce attorney who can help secure the most advantageous outcome for you and your children.