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Can Your Spouse Fight for Custody if You Ask for Child Support?

When a couple has kids and they decide to divorce, the process of dissolving the marriage can become very contentious. It is common for parents to fight over who will have custody of the children. Disputes also frequently arise regarding an appropriate amount of child support to be paid to the custodial parent.  Can Your Spouse Fight for Custody if You Ask for Child Support?

In some cases, one of the two spouses will threaten to fight for custody if the other spouse asks for child support. That parent may be willing to give up having shared custody, provided he or she does not need to pay support. It can be tempting to take this deal if you are worried about risking your kids. The reality, however, is that you should almost always ask for child support. You need to protect your financial interests, and you should not have to give in to threats that make it harder for you to provide for your children.

Why You Should Always Ask for Child Support

In the state of California, parents are legally required to financially provide for their children. This means that even if a parent does not see his or her kids at all, he will still need to pay something to the custodial parent for their care. A standard formula is used to determine how much money must be paid in child support. If you ask for child support, this formula will apply and the court will enter an order specifying how much is to be paid. Usually, the money is withdrawn automatically from the paycheck of the non-custodial parent who must pay support.

The issue of child custody is related to the issue of child support because a parent with shared custody obviously has to pay less.  The amount of support owed is based on the number of shared children, the income of the family, the percentage of the income earned by each parent, and the time that the parent spends with the children. This means that if your spouse was granted shared or full custody of the kids, his or her support payments could go down or be stopped.

However, custody is decided based on what is in the best interests of the child. Unless both parents agree on the issue of custody, the court will consider a number of factors to decide what is best for the kids. These include things like who has cared for the child over his life and who can provide a more stable home. If one parent is only seeking custody to avoid child support obligations, the court usually will not look very favorably on that motivation.

The reality is, your spouse could ask for child custody at any time. Even if you make a deal that you will not to ask for child support, your spouse could go back on that deal at any time and try to seek custody.  You should not give in to threats but instead should talk to an experienced attorney about putting together a strong court case. Your lawyer can help you to both argue for your desired custody arrangement and to ask for child support so you can give your kids the financial security they deserve. Contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to speak with an Irvine, CA family law attorney for help with all your divorce and custody issues.