Who Has to Pay Child Support in Joint Custody?

Who Has to Pay Child Support in Joint Custody

After a separation, both parents can find it tough to raise kids, especially when it comes to sharing custody. In Florida, parents have to support their kids financially until they’re adults. Usually, the parent who doesn’t have primary custody pays child support.

Child support in Florida is figured out based on how much money each parent has and how much time the child spends with each parent. 

Do I Have To Pay Child Support with Joint Custody?

Calculating child support is easier when custody is joint and time with each parent is split equally. In this case, support is based only on the parents’ resources. While it’s rare for a court to order no child support, it’s technically possible if both parents have the same income and resources, and custody is 50/50. In such situations, both parents would share expenses like health insurance and childcare equally.

Overview of Florida Child Support Laws

Child support is basically the money needed to raise a child, covering things like clothes, housing, health insurance, and education. In Florida, the law decides how much a parent must pay for child support, and this cannot be ignored.

The State of Florida Disbursement Unit handles child support payments, keeping track of every transaction. Even if parents are not married, they still have to support their kids. This might involve proving paternity and overcoming extra challenges. Remember, child support is essential for the well-being of the child and cannot be overlooked during divorce or separation.

Can I Avoid Paying Child Support If I Split Custody?

In Florida, the Child Support Guidelines are used to figure out child support payments. Even with shared custody, you might still have to pay child support.

Florida courts like shared custody because it’s good for kids when both parents are involved. But shared custody doesn’t always mean your child spends half the time with you. 

There are situations where shared custody might mean no child support payments. This happens when both parents:

  • Share equal time with the child, having them for half of their overnights.
  • Split costs equally for things like daycare and healthcare.
  • Earn about the same amount of money.

In custody battles, it’s uncommon for a judge not to order child support. It’s hard to split physical custody equally, and often, one parent earns more than the other rather than both earning the same amount.

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Who Has to Pay Child Support in Joint Custody

How Is Child Support Calculated in Florida 50/50 Custody Cases?

Child support payments mainly depend on how much money each parent makes. In Florida, child support guidelines calculate this based on both parents’ incomes and the number of kids they have.

The percentage of income a parent earns decides their child support amount. For instance, if a parent earns 70% of their combined income, then 70% of that amount is what they owe for child support. Usually, the parent with the higher income pays the parent with the lower income.

Your child support obligations aren’t just based on your income. Judges also consider other things when deciding how much you owe. These include:

  • Who the child lives with most of the time
  • How many nights the child spends with the parent they don’t live with
  • Each parent’s financial situation and monthly expenses
  • The cost of things like daycare and healthcare for the child
  • Tax deductions
  • Any special needs the child has that might mean extra costs
  • The kind of lifestyle the child is used to
  • Insurance costs

When you share custody, there are other things that can change how much child support you pay or get. 

Calculating to Pay Child Support in Joint Custody

In Florida, they use the “Income Shares Model” to figure out child support. This model estimates how much parents would spend on their child if they were still together. It divides the amount between parents based on their incomes and custody arrangements, and the difference is what each parent owes.

When calculating income, the formula considers all sources like wages, self-employment, investments, and more. The total income of both parents is combined to find the child support amount. Additional costs like childcare and medical expenses are also considered, and the total support amount is divided between the parents based on their income and assets.

The number of nights the child spends with each parent is also taken into account. If it’s a 50/50 split, both parents are presumed to cover equal expenses, which affects the support obligation.

Who Has to Pay Child Support in Joint Custody

What Happens if Joint Custody Changes or Other Circumstances Require Modification to Pay Child Support ?

If a parent wants to change their child support payments, they have to prove that there’s been a change in their situation. They need to show why the child support amount should be adjusted.

There are situations that could lead to changing child support payments, such as:

  • When a parent gets unexpected money or a new job
  • Accidentally being out of work for a long time
  • A parent becoming disabled or unable to work due to illness or injury
  • Changes in custody arrangements
  • Having another child through birth or adoption

Child support orders can’t be changed retroactively. Any changes made to child support go into effect on the day the order is changed.

Seeking Support Through Divorce Mediation?

If you’re facing divorce and need help navigating the process with less stress and conflict, consider mediation. As a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, I, Jill at Successful Solution, offer personalized mediation services to help you and your ex-partner find mutually agreeable solutions regarding child custody, support, and asset division. 

Contact me today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a more amicable divorce journey.

Schedule a Consultation

Call Us At 727-266-2202

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