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What is Shared Custody and How is It Calculated?

What is Shared Custody and How is It Calculated Featured Image

Child custody is the biggest concern during the divorce if you’re a couple with a child. There are so many things you want to know, like how much time you two spend with your children, who gets to take care of the child, who makes the big decisions, etc.

These aspects are determined by the type of custody or the parenting plan you’ve got for children. For instance, you want to be actively involved in your child’s life.

This is where child custody comes into play. However, you can choose sole custody or shared custody. In this article, you will get clarifications about shared custody and how to calculate it.

What is Shared Custody?

In practice, we address shared custody under different names. Often, it’s known as joint physical custody or shared custody. But there are a few more terms for this, such as— shared parenting, shared residential custody, shared physical custody, etc.

While you get shared or joint physical custody, you both get to spend time with your children. Also, the major decisions about the children, such as education, recreational activities, religion, and medical measures, will be decided by you two.

It is considered that both parents share financial obligations equally in a shared custody arrangement. Because the child spends about equal time with both parents, each parent is responsible for providing essentials. This is why many divorced parents assume that a shared custody arrangement does not need the payment of child support.

However, it doesn’t mean you two will be saving the same amount of time. As per family law, both parents can spend a minimum of 40% of their time with their children. How is that determined? We’ve discussed it in the later section.

Also, child custody is divided into two main categories: legal and physical custody. Shared custody comes under physical custody.

When is shared custody the most suitable?

This child custody arrangement works best in some circumstances, such as:

  • You two thoroughly understand that it’s the best decision for your children.
  • You two are substantially cooperative and capable of making a decision.
  • You two live or work in the same area, and it’s easy to transport your children to both of your residences.
  • The child is old enough, like – school-going.

Now, let’s address the most important part of the discussion – how this 40% threshold is determined.

How Does the Court Calculate Shared Custody?

As you already know, in shared custody, both parents can spend a minimum of 40% of their time with the child. There aren’t any specific rules for determining this 40% time. Besides, time can occasionally exceed.

Although there isn’t any right way to figure out the time limit, there’s a list of general guidelines established depending on different common contexts observed in divorce cases.

  1. Shared parenting periods are calculated annually, not monthly. Considering that, you can’t set a specific time aside from a whole year.
  2. The parent wishing to use section 9 of the guidelines is responsible for demonstrating that the 40% criterion has been satisfied. Section 9 is about the amount of child support parents are supposed to provide. Different factors will be considered while deciding on the amount of child support.
  3. 40% is the minimum time required to invoke Section 9 of the guidelines. A court cannot simply “round up” or “round down” parenting time.
  4. The total amount of time you spend with your child is discretional. This means – the court will calculate the passage of time following the unique circumstances of each parent. Also, the court is free to add up the time.
  5. Even though there is some flexibility, most rules seem to favor determining the 40% level on an hourly basis.
  6. The two methods most frequently used to determine the threshold are counting “days” and “hours.”
  7. How much time the parent is physically present with the children is not the only important factor. Instead, the amount of time the children are under the parent’s care and supervision will also be considered.
  8. Commonly, the custodial or primary parent will need to give time for daily activities like taking to school or sleep. But the non-custodial parent can control children and take care of them if they’re spending time with the children following the law.
  9. Typically, it is assumed that a parent is in charge of a child for the day if they drop them off at school and pick them up afterward.

How to Handle an Argument with a 40% of Time Threshold?

Earlier, you learned shared custody is possible when there’s enough understanding between you and your ex-spouse. But arguments can arise in different circumstances, and you should prepare for them. Besides, it’s important to calculate the time for arranging child support.

Keeping that in mind, here are some suggestions to handle any potential contention:

  • You can keep a simple diary or track a calendar where you can record the days and times your children have been in your care. We understand –this seems irrational, but it’s rather a smart idea. Why? There will be times when you and your ex-partner won’t be able to agree on certain incidents regarding child care. In such a case, these records will help a great deal.
  • Also, be understanding and reasonable as it is all about the best interest of your children. Besides, don’t worry about child support because the court will determine the amount of child support depending on factors like income, necessities, and family conditions of each parent.

Final Remarks

Shared or joint physical custody lets both parents spend specific time with the children. But it doesn’t mean you have a shared right to decide for your kids. If you two are friendly, live in the same area, and agree on decisions about your child, shared custody will be the best decision.

In terms of child support, it’s safe to keep track of how much time you’re spending with the children. If you two are thinking about getting shared custody or are unhappy with the current childcare agreement, you can contact a lawyer. Besides, the rules and guidelines are complicated. For any further clarification, talk to a child custody lawyer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you calculate the percentage of time with a child?

To calculate the custody percentage manually, add up the number of hours the child will spend with each parent per year. Then divide that figure by 8,760 (the number of hours in a year) and multiply it by 100. The result will be the custody percentage.

What does the CRA consider shared custody?

A shared-custody parent is one of two parents who: are not cohabiting spouses or common-law partners at the time; reside with the child on an equal or near equal basis; and primarily fulfill the responsibility for the child's care and upbringing when residing with the child.

Do you have to pay child support if you have 50/50 custody in Canada?

When a child spends more than 40% of his or her time with each parent, this is referred to as shared custody. In this case, both parents are now required to pay child support.

How is CCB calculated in shared custody?

CCB and Shared Parenting Regime are split 50/50. If a parent is eligible for the CCB under a shared parenting schedule, they will receive half of what they would have received otherwise if the child lived with them 100% of the time.

Who claims Child Benefit in joint custody?

The government has mandated that tax credits in shared custody arrangements cannot be split. This means that only one person can file a claim for each child, and neither parent can file a claim for the same child.

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