Residential Time and Child Support are Different Things

Divorce issues surrounding a child revolve around three major components: custody, child support, and residential time (sometimes called visitation in other states). A parent that has custody of the child means that the child will live with them and that they will be responsible for the child’s well-being. The parent who does not have custody still has a responsibility to the child though. That is usually met through paying money to the parent that has custody. This is called child support.


The parent that does not have custody may or may not have residential time. Residential time is an agreement between the parties and the court to allow the non-custodial parent to spend time with the child in person. Sometimes a parent who doesn’t have residential time may wonder if they still have to pay support since they are not being allowed to participate in the life of the child. They may even wonder if they can sign their parental rights away to another person. Such parents may desperately want to participate more fully in the life of their child, but feel they are unable to because of court orders or the wishes of the custodial parent.


Unfortunately, residential time and child support are two different things. Removing one doesn’t remove the other. Even if you have no visitation rights, you are still responsible for providing financial support if the court orders in. And vice versa too. A custodial parent wealthy enough to raise their child on their own may still allow residential time even if no support is being paid, an unusual circumstance but not unheard of.


Do you have questions about child support in the state of Washington? Do you fear you can’t meet your obligations or that your ex-spouse may be hiding income from you? Contact a family lawyer that can help. Call Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC.

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