Take the following example (from an actual inquiry by a customer); Mom and Dad are divorced and they have three children. The youngest child lives with Mom who is her primary custodian, the older two children are shared on a 50/50 time share between Mom and Dad, but there is no agreement for the sharing of expenses.
How do you prepare the necessary child support worksheets for this family?
The answer lies in the “multiple family adjustment” available under the Guidelines. Although developed to address the “yours, mine and ours” situation arising out of multiple marriages, step-children, children of previous relationships, etc., the MFA is also helpful in “forcing” the application of the right child support table (such as the three child table in the example above).
Just follow the Guidelines for the preparation of a child support worksheet for each group of children, but use the MFA option to force the program to apply the correct support table. In the example, you would prepare a child support worksheet for the youngest child (living with Mom), but force the application of the application of the three child table by indicating that Dad has custody of two additional children (the ones he shares 50/50 with Mom). Then prepare a “shared time” worksheet for the older two children, using the MFA to force a three child table application (to get the right support amounts).
The same approach can be used where the parents have a divided custody with respect to two or more children (some, but not all live with Mom and the rest live with Dad), but a shared custody of one or more additional children, perhaps with an expense sharing agreement, or approaches not applicable to all of the children.
The key to the proper calculation of the support obligations is the application of the proper child support table reflecting the number of children in the family, regardless of the variety of living/custodial arrangements.