Child Support and Child Custody – How They Tie Together

One of the challenges divorcing parents face is negotiating a parenting plan, which includes a schedule of the time the children will spend with each parent during the school year, summer vacation and holidays.

Because child support is directly tied to the number of overnights each parent has with the children, parents frequently have a double agenda when they negotiate a parenting plan.

Parenting Plans, Child Support and Alaska Law

Under Alaska law, child support is calculated using the formula outlined in Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 90.3.

There is a separate formula for divided custody cases, as well. A divided custody case involves each party having primary custody of one or more of the children.

There is also a “hybrid” formula that applies when the parents have a combination of shared and physical custody.

Whether Civil Rule 90.3(a) or Civil Rule 90.3(b) applies depends on the number of overnights each parent has. The “magic number” for child support is 110 overnights.

  • If a parent has fewer than 110 overnights in a year, child support is calculated based only on that parent’s income.
  • If a parent has more than 110 overnights, child support is calculated using a formula that takes both parents’ income into account.

Converting the number of overnights into a percentage is the first, and perhaps most important, step.

For example, if one parent has 112 overnights the calculation is: 112/365 = 30 percent. For child support purposes there is a 30/70 shared custody arrangement.

You can find additional information about the nuts and bolts of calculating child support on the Alaska Court System’s Family Law Self-Help Center, which has a useful set of questions and answers about child support.


Posted in: Divorce