Child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent in accordance with the presumptively correct amount set by a statutory formula. Even in cases where the parties share custody equally, one of the parties — the spouse with greater earnings — is designated non-custodial for the purpose of determining the presumptively correct amount of child support.
There are various situations where the custodial arrangement is not well suited to rote application of the presumptively correct child support. This is often the case in shared custodial arrangements. In a shared custodial arrangement, each parent will need to dedicate his or her resources to supporting the children when they are residing with that parent. In such a situation, the parties will often “deviate” downward from the presumptively correct amount of support because of the non-monetary resources they each provide for the children. This is not always the case, however. Where the more-monied parent earns a great deal more than the lesser-monied parent, and the lesser-monied spouse needs the presumptively correct support amount to adequately provide for the children, then the presumptively correct amount will likely be ordered.
Where the parties live far apart after one of the parties has relocated, the cost of travel needed to see the children can be deducted from the presumptively correct child support amount.