Parenting Plans and Child Support

Something many people don’t seem to realize is that parenting plans have a huge impact on child support in Montana. But before we get into that, a few words about parenting plans:

If you have a child with someone and you don’t live with that person anymore, you should have a parenting plan. I don’t care how well things are going today, or how great things were for the past six months. If things really are going to keep going well, then they’ll keep going well with a parenting plan in place. And if everything goes bad, you’ll be glad you’ve got a plan already in place. What people too often miss is that the best time to create a parenting plan is when you’re getting along with the other parent. Don’t wait until it all goes sour and try to do it then.

Now that that’s out of the way, parenting plans impact child support very directly because they specific how many days a year the child spends with each parent. And the number of days a year each child spends with each parent is a major part of the calculation. For the purposes of the Montana Child Support Guidelines, 110 days is the magic number. When a child resides primarily with one parent and does not spend more than 110 days per year with the other parent, there is no adjustment to the transfer payment due. So, if your child spends 110 or less with one of his parents the calculation remains the same no matter how few days that parent sees the child.

But, if the child is spending more than 110 days per year with each parent, then it’s going to impact child support. For these purposes, a day is defined as the majority of a 24-hour calendar period in which the child is with or under the control of a parent. Generally speaking, the calendar period begins at midnight of the first day and ends at midnight of the second day. Parents can agree otherwise, or the Court can order a different standard – but that’s the default.

When the child is in the temporary care of a third party, like school or day care, the parent who is the primary contact for the third party is the parent who has control of the child for that period of the day.

Properly determining the number of days your child spends with each parent is vital to a correct child support calculation. And once you’ve determined those numbers, doing the math properly can mean the difference between adequate compensation and a payment that doesn’t do the job. Our child support calculator quickly and accurately determines child support, and allows you to change the number of days your child spends with each parent so you can actually see the effect it has on the bottom line. Ready to get started? Sign up today.

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