Law Office Of William B Bennett, St. Petersburg, FL, Split Custody

Some divorced parents with split custody in Florida find themselves in a situation where one parent is awarded child support even with 50/50 custody. When custody is equal, is it fair to pay child support? There can be a lot of confusion and frustration around child support. Split custody and how child support is calculated in Florida can add to the complications. The Law Office of William B. Bennett is an experienced law firm that helps client navigate the sometimes tricky laws around child support.

Understanding Child Support in Florida With Split Custody

In Florida, child support is calculated based primarily on the incomes of both parents. Additionally, the amount of overnight stays each child has with each parent is taken into account. Even with 50/50 custody, where each parent has the child for an equal amount of overnights per year, one parent can often be deemed the “majority” parent for child support purposes. The majority parent is the one who has the child for the slight majority of overnights, even if just by one night.

The Majority Parent Typically Receives Child Support

The majority parent will typically be awarded child support from the other parent to help cover the child’s expenses during their time with the majority parent. The amount of child support is calculated based on a formula that considers both parents’ incomes, basic living expenses for the children, health insurance for the children and the time the children spend with each parent.

Custody and Child Support Can Be Modified

If custody arrangements change significantly in the future, child support amounts can be modified. For example, if one parent begins to care for the children for a larger majority of overnights, they may petition the court for an increase in child support. The court will re-calculate support based on the new custody arrangement and each parent’s current financial circumstances.

Seeking a Deviation From the Guidelines

In some cases, the standard child support guidelines may result in an unfair support amount. Parents can petition the court for a deviation from the guidelines by showing that the standard amount would be unjust or inappropriate in their particular situation. The court has discretion to set child support at an amount they deem fair based on the specifics of each family’s situation.

How Child Support Is Calculated With Split Custody Arrangements

Child support calculations in Florida are complex, especially when parents share custody 50/50. The court considers several factors to determine if child support is warranted and how much each parent should pay.

Income of Both Parents

The court looks at both parents’ incomes and earning potential to determine how much each can contribute. If one parent earns significantly more, they may pay higher support. With 50/50 custody, the court aims for the children to have a similar standard of living in both homes.

Basic Needs of the Children

The court considers the basic needs of the children, like food, clothing, housing, and medical care. Support is meant to share the cost of these necessities between both parents.

Time-Sharing Schedule

The court looks closely at the time each parent spends with the children. If custody is truly 50/50, each parent is responsible for the children’s basic needs during their time. However, one parent may pay support to balance any difference in the children’s lifestyles between homes. For example, one parent’s health insurance may cover a child’s health expenses. Therefore, the other parent may be required to pay some child support to balance out those costs.

Extracurricular Expenses

The court may require parents to share costs for extracurricular activities, childcare and other expenses. These additional costs are not necessarily covered in the basic child support amount. Parents should keep records of expenses for the court’s review.

Can I Get Out of Paying Child Support in Florida With Shared Custody?

Child Support Is Still Required

Even with 50/50 shared custody in Florida, child support payments are typically still required from the higher-earning parent to the lower-earning parent to ensure the children’s needs are met when they’re with each parent. Child support is calculated based on both parents’ incomes and the number of overnights each child spends with each parent.

Custody and Child Support Can Change

If custody arrangements change in the future to 60/40 or 70/30, the child support amount will likely change as well to reflect the new timesharing schedule. The parent with the greater timesharing percentage may receive an increase in child support. Consequently, the parent with less time may receive a decrease. Changes in either parent’s income can also lead to post judgement modifications in the child support amount.

There Are Limited Exceptions

In rare circumstances, a parent may be excused from paying child support with 50/50 custody. This could happen if both parents have essentially the same income and the children’s needs are met equally well in both households. However, the court may evaluate the specific circumstances of each case to determine if waiving child support would be in the best interests of the children. If there is a large disparity in the parents’ incomes, child support will typically still be ordered to guarantee the children have their needs met in both homes.

If You Have Questions About Child Support, Contact The Law Office Of William Bennett Today For Answers

Child support calculation in Florida is complex. Custody arrangements can also further complicate matters. While it may seem unfair to pay support when sharing custody equally, the courts aim to ensure the children’s needs are met. By understanding how support is determined and how custody impacts it, we can better navigate child support issues after a divorce. If you have questions about your split custody arrangements, call The Law Office of William B. Bennett today for a free consultation. We can be reached at (727) 821-8000 or contact us on our website here.

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