Worksheet A or Worksheet B
Most people will be able to determine which child support worksheet to use simply by looking at the timesharing they have with their children. If someone has the children less than 35% of the time, then you should be using Worksheet A, which is titled Basic Visitation. If the timesharing arrangement is more evenly shared, like a 50/50 plan or 65/35, then you use Worksheet B, which is titled Shared Responsibility.
Erickson Child Support Worksheets
In addition to Worksheet A and Worksheet B, there is also a rare “Erickson” situation. This problem arises when the parties’ children do not follow the same timesharing schedule, and one of the children would be on Worksheet A and the other on Worksheet B.
Financial Obligations of Support
With a Shared Responsibility situation, the child support paid to the other party is diminished to reflect the idea that each party is providing a suitable home for the children. The architects of this statute would tell you that this is not a money-saving device for child support, but simply reflects the fact that each parent should be providing for the children while they have them in their care, custody and control. The definition of “shared responsibility means a custody arrangement whereby each parent provides a suitable home for the children of the parties, when the children spend at least thirty-five percent of the year in each home and the parents significantly share the duties, responsibilities and expenses of parenting.” NMSA (1978) § 40-4-11.1D.(3). Notice how Worksheet B parents are to share the “expenses of parenting.”
What if your timesharing would put you on Worksheet B, but the other parent refuses to share the expenses of parenting (e.g., won't buy clothes or pay for school lunches). The Statute doesn't provide any guidance in this situation, either. I suspect that if one parent could prove the other wasn't sharing the expenses, the court would say to the cheap parent, "fine, you pay Worksheet A then."
A Basic Visitation situation does not have this idea of parents sharing the “expenses of parenting.” If you are paying child support pursuant to Worksheet A, and the custodial parent asks you for money for school clothes, you technically are allowed to say, that is why I pay child support.
Hour Calculations for Worksheet A and Worksheet B
The Instructions for Worksheet B provide that you determine the percentage of time that each parent has with the child by entering the “number of “twenty-four-hour days of responsibility that each parent has each child in a year according to the parenting plan.” The Worksheet itself says that you need to total 365 days. With split days, where one party picks up the children in the middle of the day, you divide the number of hours in the day between the parties. If you have the children the bulk of the summer, then that should be calculated in your percentage over the year.
If one party is dropping off the children at school and the other party picks up the children from school, you have a problem with who gets credit for the hours that the children are in school. What most courts do is try to determine who would stay home with the children when they are sick. The stay at home person gets credit for those hours. You could also have your parenting plan state who stays home and who gets credit for that time on the child support worksheet.