Many state child support statutes are fuzzy when parents have exactly equal parenting arrangements.
Let’s consider Colorado, for one example.
In Colorado, the question is whether we should calculate exactly equal parenting as “shared” or as “split” custody.
Under the statute, “shared” physical care means that each parent keeps the children overnight for more than ninety-two overnights each year.”
Exactly equal parenting fills that bill, since each parent has 182.5 overnights.
Now suppose there are two children.
There are some practitioners who prefer to treat this as if Parent A has sole custody of one child and Parent B has sole custody of the other child. That totals up to “exactly equal custody” overall.
Some clients prefer this approach, because it feels intuitively fair to them.
But what happens is that, because of the formulas, the child support result is very different if you invoke the “split” custody rule than if you invoke the “shared” custody rule.
The child support outcome in the equally-shared-parenting situation can be very different just depending on how you line up the pins.
The “shared” custody rule seems to us to be more in tune with the statute, but some prefer to go the “split” custody route anyway.
In the end, there is no hard-and-fast right or wrong, here. Attorneys and parties are going to choose the approach and result that feels right to them in each case.