HOW DOES THE COURT CALCULATE TIMESHARE FOR CHILD SUPPORT?
Time share calculations are very important for determining child support, and generally are fairly simple: the court will determine how much time the minor or minors spend with each parent, and turn that into a percentage.
However, there are always twists and grey areas, some of which have been addressed via cases that have been appealed and ruled on by either the appeals court of the California Supreme Court.
Two interesting cases show some of the issues that come up.
First, a 2001 case (In re Marriage of Katzberg) found that the primary custodial parent would be given the time share for time where a minor spent at a boarding school. The rationale for the decision was that the primary custodial parent was responsible for emergencies and day to day management of the school, and was therefore responsible for those time periods.
There are also cases that state that the time in day care should be attributed to the primarily custody parent because they have the responsibility for finding, arranging, and fronting the money for day care. In re Marriage of Whealon.
Second, a new case, just decided, out of San Diego in 2020 stated that a court erred by giving a father a 20 percent time share for a period of time where he didn’t see the minor at all. The trial court’s rationale was that the mother had prevented the father from seeing the child during that time, and therefore it was unfair to make him pay support for the full time. The Court of Appeal found that the trial court could not do this, because Family Code Sections 4052.5 and 4057 require the use of actual time share, and only allow narrow exceptions to guideline support. Denial of visitation was not one of those exceptions.
When looking at time share, the court is going to look at the ACTUAL time, and apportion time when the minor or minors are not in the care of either parent to the parent responsible for the child should emergencies arise, etc.