Establishing Child Support for Third-Party Custodians

Third parties may have custody of your child for a variety of reasons: You may be unable to care for your children due to physical or mental illness or addiction or you may be in the military and stationed overseas. As your child becomes a teenager, he may prefer to live with someone other than his parents, and both parents may agree that it is in the child's best interests to do so.

In accordance with Section 4.01 of the Child Support Manual, no matter what the circumstances, both parents are responsible for paying child support to the third party to provide for the child's needs. Medical expenses, premiums for health insurance, and child-care expenses are also included in the calculation. Rather than having one parent pay the other parent for the difference between their support obligations, both parents pay the amount to the third party.

That amount is calculated by:

  • Determining the net income of both parties (as defined by the child support formula)
  • Calculating the amount of each parent's base support by defining the other parent's income as zero
  • Calculating the child's medical expenses and child care
  • Totaling each parent's support, including base support, medical expenses and child care, to determine the amount to be paid to the third party

The question of which parent pays the child's healthcare premium and how to divide it between the parties should be handled separately. If you have questions about third-party child custody, Michael A. Robbins can help.