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Split Custody

What is Split Custody?

Split Custody - Dad Playing with son riding a bike

Many people confuse joint custody with split custody. They are not the same. Split custody is a type of custody arrangement where one parent becomes the primary custodian of at least one child and the other parent becomes the primary custodian of the other child(ren). In short, each child only has one primary custodian but the primary custodian varies from child to child.

Split Custody - Mom playing with Daughter

Example of Split Custody and Split Custody Schedule

If two parents have two children (a daughter and a son), a split parenting arrangement could involve:

  • Mom receiving primary custody of the daughter
  • Dad receiving primary custody of the son

In terms of a schedule, the daughter could spend Monday through Friday with mom, and the son would spend that same time with dad. Typically, split custody arrangements have the children spend weekends together. As such, both the daughter and the son would spend one weekend with mom and the next with dad.

Split Custody is Not Favored by the Court

This type of arrangement is generally not preferred by a court. In fact, keeping the children of a relationship together is a factor in determining the appropriate custody arrangement in a case. That said, under certain circumstances, this type of arrangement may make sense for the parties and could possibly be the most beneficial for the children involved.
Calculator in between mom and son on left and father and daughter on right to represent calculating split custody

How is Child Support Determined in a Split Custody Situation?

Calculating child support for a split custody situation is a little more complex than usual. In short, two separate child support determinations are made - one for each primary custodian based upon the children that are under their primary care. Once these separate child support determinations are made, the numbers are used to offset against each other with the parent with the higher net obligation owing the other parent that amount of child support.

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