How Does Time-Sharing Affect Child Support?
In Florida, all parents are obligated to financially support their children. For parents who are no longer in a relationship, this often takes the form of a child support payment. How much a parent must pay in child support, however, depends on a few different factors, including the income of both parents, as well as how much time each parent spends with the child. To learn more about how time-sharing could affect your own child support award, please reach out to our experienced Fort Lauderdale child support attorneys today.
Number of Overnight Visits
In Florida, child support determinations are reached using a specific set of guidelines. These guidelines in turn, are dependent on a few different factors, including how much time both parties spend with their children. The number of overnight visits that a child has with each parent is particularly important, as the cost of these stays, including food, clothing, and shelter-related expenses will be taken into account when assessing responsibility for child support.
Generally, as long as a parent has at least 20 percent of the overnight visits, he or she is considered to have a substantial portion of timesharing. In these cases, the court will calculate the child support award based on the gross up method, which involves increasing the base child support obligation by 150 percent to account for the fact that both parents will need to maintain separate households. Both parties’ incomes and number of overnight stays with the child will then be assessed to determine a child support award.
Retroactive Child Support
Unfortunately, recognizing that overnight visits largely dictate how much a person will need to pay in child support, many parents who share custody attempt to obtain a larger portion of timesharing on their custody order, but then later, fail to exercise that time-sharing as it was awarded. When this happens, a court can step in and retroactively adjust child support to account for the other parent’s failure to adhere to the parenting plan.
Under Florida law, a parent can’t actually be denied visitation simply because he or she isn’t paying child support. This is true despite the fact that child support awards are technically court orders and so are legally enforceable. While a parent who doesn’t pay child support could face other serious penalties, including wage garnishment, contempt of court proceedings, and a driver’s license suspension, access to his or her child will not be affected.
Call Today with Your Child Support-Related Questions and Concerns
How much time a parent spends with his or her child will affect whether he or she needs to pay child support and if so, in what amount. If you share custody of your child with a former partner and need help with a child support issue, please call dedicated Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to learn more about your options. You can reach a member of our legal team at 954-945-7591 or via online message.