Parenting Time and Child Support In Florida
When two people decide to divorce, asset distribution may not take a very long time, but deciding issues of parenting time and child support payments can draw out proceedings for ages if not handled appropriately. What many couples do not immediately grasp is that parenting time can play a role in arriving at an appropriate amount of child support for your case, and if you are not aware of this, you may wind up getting the proverbial short ends of both sticks.
Support According To Guidelines
In Florida, there are guidelines that are intended to help parents (and courts) decide on acceptable ways to split parenting time and how much child support should be required accordingly. Generally, child support guidelines will establish an amount that depends on the combined net income of both parents – in other words, their combined net income will help the court determine a support obligation that is fair, and neither too light nor too punishing. This is referred to as the Income Shares model, and is used in the majority of cases.
It is possible for the court to deviate from the support guidelines, but if this is by more than 5 percent, there must be a written explanation as to why, with reasons why enforcing the recommended guideline amount would be inappropriate or unjust. There are several reasons why a divorce court might deviate from support guidelines, with one of the most common being the way parenting time is divided between the spouses.
“Substantial Parenting Time”
One of the major reasons for deviating from the accepted child support guidelines is if the spouses’ parenting time agreement is structured so that both parents have “substantial” timesharing. In that case, the noncustodial parent is entitled, by law, to a reduction in his or her child support payment. State law establishes that if a parent has at least 20 percent of overnights with their children, they are said to have “substantial parenting time” and in turn, can pay less monetarily.
This makes sense because if the children are with the noncustodial parent, the custodial parent is not, in theory, paying day-to-day expenses for the children, and thus would require less in support payments. Child support is entitlement of the children, and is intended to be used for expenses incurred by the children. Therefore, if they are not there, it stands to reason that less support is needed by the custodial parent. However, every situation is different and having an attorney on your side to help you through the legal process is always recommended.
Call A Hollywood Child Support Attorney
In Florida, the right of support belongs to the child, not to the parents, even though it can be affected by what the parents do in their divorce. Hollywood child support attorney Steven A. Mason and the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. have been handling these types of issues for many years, and are ready to try and assist you with your case. Contact our Hollywood offices today to schedule a consultation.