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Why Do I Have To Pay Child Support if I Share 50/50 Custody?
Florida law requires parents to be financially responsible for the care of their minor children who are not emancipated. Therefore, you are required to pay child support for your child if your child does not live with you.
However, what happens when you share 50/50 custody of your child with your ex-partner? Are you required to pay child support if you have joint custody in Florida?
Could I Get Out of Paying Child Support if I Split Custody?
Florida uses its child support guidelines to calculate child support obligations. The guidelines generally mandate some form of support. Therefore, you might still owe child support even though you share 50/50 custody.
The courts in Florida favor joint custody because children generally benefit from having both parents involved in their upbringing. Shared custody allows both parents to make decisions regarding their children.
When you share custody of your child, it does not mean your child spends 50% of their time with you. Usually, a child’s primary residence is with one parent. The child visits with the other parent according to the terms of the parenting plan and time-sharing agreement.
The custodial parent is the parent the child lives with for their primary residence. Therefore, that parent is typically responsible for most of the child’s expenses. For that reason, the non-custodial parent often pays the custodial parent child support.
However, there could be instances in which shared custody results in no child support payments. A judge might find child support is not required if the parents prove:
The child spends 50% of their overnights with each parent;
The parents divide the expenses for the child equally, including healthcare costs and daycare expenses; and,
It is rare that a judge does not order child support payments in a child custody case. Splitting physical custody evenly is challenging. Furthermore, it is more common for one parent to earn more than the other parent than for parents to have the same income.
How Is Child Support Calculated in 50/50 Custody Cases in Florida?
Income is one of the most significant factors determining child support payments. The Florida child support guidelines calculate the child support obligation based on the combined income of the parents and the number of children being supported.
A parent’s portion of child support is based on their percentage of the combined income amount. For example, if a parent earns 70% of the combined income amount, their child support obligation would be 70% of the total support amount. Typically, the parent earning the higher income pays the parent earning the lower income.
However, the income amount is not the only factor used to determine your child support obligation. Judges also consider other factors when ordering child support payments. Those factors include:
The parent who has physical custody of the child
The number of overnight visits spent with the non-custodial parent
A parent’s overaell financial resources
The parent’s monthly expenses
A child’s healthcare and daycare costs
Income tax deductions
Any special needs the child might have that result in expenses
The child’s standard of living
Other factors could impact how much you pay or receive for child support when you have joint custody. An Orlando child support lawyer can help you ensure you are not paying too much or receiving too little for child support.
What Happens if Custody Changes or Other Circumstances Require Modification of Child Support?
The parent requesting the change in child support payments has the burden of proving a significant change of circumstances occurred. The chance of circumstances must justify modifying the amount of your child support obligation.
Examples of situations that could result in modifying child support payments include, but are not limited to:
A parent getting a new job or receiving unexpected money
Extended periods of unintentional unemployment
A parent becomes disabled or unable to work because of an illness or injury
Changes in time-sharing and custody arrangements
The birth or adoption of another child
Child support modifications are not retroactive. The new child support payment becomes effective with the date of the new child support order.
Contact an Orlando Child Support Attorney for Legal Help
Modifying or stopping child support payments without a court order is not permissible in the State of Florida. Failing to pay child support can result in wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, and other court sanctions. Instead, contact an Orlando child support attorney immediately if you have trouble making your child support payments to discuss your rights and options.