Do you have an uncontested RI divorce in Rhode Island’s Family Court? Or do you hope for one?
It’s easy to make the same mistake some Rhode Island attorneys practicing divorce make, namely that joint physical placement of your children so that you each have the child or children exactly 50% of the time means that neither parent pays child support to the other parent.
The Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines are available to everyone at the Rhode Island Family Court Domestic Relations Clerk’s desk/office. Even a quick read of Rhode Island’s Guidelines is informative and would put you on notice that while it is “possible” that there would be no child support payable from either parent to the other in such circumstances, it is just as possible that child support will still be payable to the lesser earning parent in the Rhode Island divorce or Child support proceedings.
Why is that the case in Rhode Island?
Generally speaking it’s not about you as the parent, it’s about the children. In a joint physical placement situation Rhode Island’s Family Court Administrative Order 2002-03 which forms the substance of the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines provides as follows in Joint/Shared Physical Custody situations,
In light of the unique nature of an individual joint or shared physical custody arrangement, the Court should exercise its discretion to determine an equitable child support obligation in accordance with the 2002 Monthly Basic Child Support Obligations Schedule and Child Support Guideline Worksheet.
Therefore, the Rhode Island Family Court Judge assigned to your case has a considerable amount of discretion when it comes to the support for your children. It is NOT simply that by having your child(ren) half of the time that you automatically cancel out Rhode Island child support.
So what might the Rhode Island Family Court Judge do in your particular case. Since each case is based on the facts and no two cases are identical, there is no real prediction that I, or any other Rhode Island attorney could make regarding any child support you may or may not have to pay. However, reasonable speculation is possible by an experienced professional who hears the facts and determines what the possibilities might hold from the court’s point of view.
So, in the first instance in any Rhode Island family court proceeding involving child support under the RI Child Support Guidelines, it is best to know that (1) having joint/shared physical custody of your children with the mother of the child(ren) does not mean “No Child Support.”, and (2) the Court judge on your case has discretion in determining how much child support, if any, should be paid by one parent to the other parent when considering the best interests of the Minor Child(ren), and (3) it is still helpful in the long run to meet with a divorce lawyer who regularly has practiced Rhode Island divorce and family law to find out what a Court judge might possibly do regarding Rhode Island Child Support given your particular factual circumstances for a Rhode Island Child Support Order so that you and be adequately prepared for possible outcomes.
Ultimately, don’t make the mistake of thinking that simply because you get the other parent to agree to joint/shared physical custody of the child(ren) that you won’t have to pay any child support. If you make that assumption you may find yourself sitting before a Rhode Island judge who suddenly orders you to pay hundreds per month to the mother of the child(ren) and now you have to pick your chin off the floor because you planned on using those monies for something else.
Need to plan for the possibilities or prepare for the worst?
Call for a Rhode Island Child Support Advice and Coaching Session NOW!
One hour for only $135 could save you thousands of dollars of headaches!