Does parenting time affect child support payments?

| Nov 13, 2020 | Child Support

Whether married or not, when parents separate, it can have a detrimental effect on the time they spend with their children. In fact, the National Conference of State Legislators reports that when these splits occur, 70% of parents do not have a court-ordered schedule for visitation, even if the court orders them to pay child support.

All states across the nation, including Minnesota, follow guidelines for child support payments, and the time one or both parents spend with their child may affect how much and how often they pay.

Reasons for scheduling gaps

While courts usually create and monitor child support payment schedules, few if any provisions exist for quality parenting time apart from visitation, which judges may address separately from child support issues. The gap may have several causes, including:

  • A lack of presumptive parenting laws
  • Unmarried parents who lack scheduling guidance
  • Varying state family laws

Congress has yet to implement schedules for creating these guidelines, citing a lack of funding.

Unmarried parents face many challenges

Because each state has its own guidelines for determining child support payments, the relationship between time spent parenting and the cost of those payments may vary. However, unmarried parents do not require any intervention from the courts if they decide to end their relationship and in Minnesota and 13 other states, unmarried women receive sole custody of the baby at birth, even if the father acknowledges the child is his. As such, both parents may face obstacles for obtaining child support and equal parenting time.

Many states permit parents who pay child support adjustments to payments when they actively participate in their child’s life. This incentive may help support a child’s emotional well-being, especially if both parents cooperate in fair parental scheduling.