- Financial support, by itself, does not satisfy all of the needs of children. The well-being of children also depends on the emotional support received through frequent continuous contact with both parents. It is ironic that the more time a noncustodial parent spends with their child, the more child support will be paid.
- Encouraging generous parenting time arrangements serves both the financial and non-financial needs of children.
- Most states use a guidelines model (Income Shares) that calculates the basic child support obligation under the assumption that the non-custodial has no parenting time and children’s expense.
- The reality is that most non-custodial parents exercise an alternating weekend and holiday schedule (about 20%). They have expenses with the children, from food to maintaining separate living quarters for them.
- Over 30 states have tried to bridge the gap between the models and reality with some kind of parenting time adjustment to account for direct expenditures on a child when there are in the care of the non-custodial parent. This adjustments is applied when parenting time exceeds a threshold.
- Approaches taken by states can be categorized in the following approaches:
1.Establish Limiting Criterion for Applying the Adjustment
2.Set the Threshold for applying the Adjustment High
3.Set the Threshold for Applying the Threshold Just above Standard Visitation
4.Provide a Nominal Adjustment
5.Provide Expedited Processes for Review and Adjustment when parenting time exceeds threshold
- Some states incorporate these thresholds as deviations, while others make it presumptive
- Here is a comprehensive list of how states handle parenting time which was created by a graduate students at Georgia State University at the request of the Georgia Commission on Child Support working with the Parenting Time Study Committee determine best practices.
- Parenting time statutes in Georgia allow a parenting time deviation.
- There has been resistance (especially from those in legal profession) to an presumptive parenting time adjustment because it might provide an economic incentive for parents to seek more time in order to decrease child support.
- This resistance has also prevented presumptive shared parenting time arrangements.