Child support and child custody are two separate matters. A court could grant sole custody to one parent and restrict visitation while still requiring the non-custodial parent to pay child support.
Florida uses child support guidelines to determine how much child support a parent must pay. However, judges can deviate from the guidelines in some cases. Furthermore, the time a child spends with a parent is only one factor used in calculating child support payments.
Therefore, if you share custody with your child’s other parent, you might still be required to pay child support. A 50/50 custody agreement in Orlando does not necessarily mean you will get out of paying child support to your ex-partner.
Could Both Parents Get Out of Paying Child Support in Florida If They Share Joint Custody?
Is Florida a 50/50 Custody State? Joint custody is not required in Florida. However, the courts favor joint custody arrangements because it is generally in a child’s best interest to have both parents actively participate in the child’s care and upbringing. Therefore, a judge will likely grant joint custody unless a parent proves it is not in the best interest of the child.
Even if parents share custody, one parent typically pays child support to the other. The Florida child support guidelines do not allow for $0 child support.
There could be cases where a judge might not grant child support, but those cases are rare. For a judge to find that child support is unnecessary, the parents would need to prove the following:
- The child spends about 50% of the time with each parent;
- The parents split all expenses for the child equally, including daycare and healthcare costs; and,
- The parents have nearly the same income.
The factors that would need to be present to justify a finding of a $0 child support obligation are rare. Even with a joint custody arrangement, the child typically stays with one parent more than the other. Splitting time 50/50 between two homes can make it difficult to create stability and continuity for a child.
How Do Family Courts in Orlando Decide How Much Parents Must Pay for Child Support?
The parent who has the child most of the time is the custodial parent. In most cases, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent child support payments. That is because the child spends more time with the custodial parent, so that parent pays a greater portion of the child’s basic needs.
However, the number of overnights the child spends with a parent is just one factor in determining child support obligations.
When calculating the amount of child support payments, judges consider factors including:
- Each parent’s financial ability
- Childcare expenses
- The child’s needs
- Healthcare costs
- A parent’s monthly expenses
- Standard of living
- Income tax deductions
- The number of overnights with each parent
The child support guidelines base the monthly child support obligation on the number of children being supported and the parents’ combined income. The child support obligation is divided based on a parent’s portion of the combined income.
Therefore, the higher-earning parent typically pays the parent earning less income. Again, judges consider other factors when ordering child support payments. Therefore, how much you pay for child support will depend on the totality of the circumstances in your case.
An Orlando child support lawyer can help you determine if you are paying or receiving a fair amount of support based on the factors in your case.
Can Child Support Payments Be Modified in Florida?
Circumstances can change that justify a modification of child support payments. A change in custody is one of the circumstances that often lead to child support modifications.
For example, suppose your child begins spending more time at your home. In that case, a judge might determine that your ex-partner should pay you child support or decrease the amount of child support you pay your ex-partner.
Other reasons the court might modify child support obligations include, but are not limited to:
- A parent becomes disabled
- Extended periods of unintentional unemployment
- A parent’s income changes substantially
- Changes in custody and/or time-sharing agreements
- The birth of another child
It is important to remember that child support modifications are not retroactive. Therefore, it is best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if your circumstances change.
Furthermore, stopping or modifying the amount of child support payments without a court order could result in one or more penalties. The court might garnish your wages, suspend your driver’s license, and more. It is best to speak with an Orlando child support attorney immediately if you have trouble paying your child support payments.
Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803