In Florida parents are responsible for the support of their children. This support is not limited to just emotional and physical support, but also extends to financial support. This financial support is regulated by Florida Statute 61.30. There is a common misconception that exists amongst many clients regarding the amount of support each child is due. Many clients believe that if they are awarded 50/50 timesharing the support award will terminate. The logic is often based on the notion that if the parents are equally dividing time then there will be no need for extra financial support beyond what is provided during the time that the child is with each parent. This logic is flawed when dealing with Florida child support cases.
The Florida Statutes require the courts to assess child support by combining the net monthly income of the parties responsible for support, and then calculating the individual responsibility by determining the parent’s share of support based on their income. This calculation is done by dividing the parent’s net monthly income by the parties’ combined net monthly income. Then once the share of support is determined a calculation is made based on the timesharing awarded to each parent.
Typically when parents have a substantial difference in income the 50/50 timesharing award will not insulate the higher income earning parent from not paying some child support. The purpose of the Florida child support model is to allow the supported child to be financially supported to the same extent they would be if the parents lived together. Thus, when the income amounts are disproportionate and the timesharing award is 50/50 the higher earning parent will typically still owe a child support obligation to the lesser earning parent. While this may be the case in some instances, it does not apply uniformly to all cases.
Parties can consent to receiving more or less child support by entering a consent agreement that is enforced by the court. However, simply because the parties consent to a lesser amount, does not mean the court will approve of this arrangement. Additionally, the Florida Statute allows for credits to be given to one parent for other forms of financial support to the benefit of the child, such as, payment of health insurance, payment of child care costs, medical needs of the child, or other expenses that are required to maintain proper care of the child.
If you’re experiencing issues related to child support or have questions regarding modifying your current child support arrangement contact Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. to schedule a consultation with one of our Family Law attorneys.