Can I Still Be Required To Pay Child Support If I Share Custody?
Although child custody and child support are two different legal issues, they are also dependent on each other for resolution. How much child support a parent is required to pay, for instance, will be dictated not only by that person’s income, but also by how much time he or she spends with the child. For help understanding how child support and child custody work in Florida, please reach out to a dedicated Clearwater child support modification lawyer in your area today.
Calculating Child Support
In Florida, child support awards are calculated using the Income Shares Model, which requires an assessment of both parents’ incomes and expenses. A child support determination can’t, however, be made unless both parents have a clear understanding of how much time they will spend with their child on a daily basis. Parents with less custody, for instance, will generally be expected to pay more in child support, to help the other parent pay for the costs that he or she is taking on while caring for the child.
Courts generally prefer to award some type of joint custody to divorcing parents, as doing so is deemed to be in a child’s best interests in most cases. It’s important to note, however, that child custody is divided into two different categories: parenting time and decision-making responsibility. The former involves how much time the child spends with each parent, while the latter covers responsibility for making decisions about the child’s religious upbringing, healthcare, and education. How these rights and obligations are divided isn’t always equal. A parent could, for instance, be granted primary custody of a child, while the other parent is awarded visitation, but be required to share responsibility for major decision-making equally.
Awarding Child Support to Parents with Joint Custody
Often, people think that child support is irrelevant if joint custody is awarded. This, however, isn’t true. As we mentioned previously, joint physical custody and joint legal custody aren’t the same thing, so it’s important for parents to have a thorough understanding of what their custody arrangement actually means. Furthermore, even if a couple splits patenting time 50/50, a higher earning parent could still be required to pay child support, as calculating these awards isn’t dictated purely by the division of parenting time and childcare expenses, but also by the parties’ incomes. Ultimately, how these kinds of cases are resolved is decided on a case by case basis, making it especially important for those who are grappling with child custody or child support issues, to speak with an attorney who is well-versed in these areas of the law.
Clearwater Child Support Modification Lawyer
If you have questions about child support, joint custody, or another divorce-related matter, don’t hesitate to contact Cairns Law for help. We’re standing by and ready to begin working with you through each phase of your case. Call us at 727-683-1472 to get started. You can also set up a consultation with a member of our legal team by completing one of our online contact forms.