When going through a divorce, it’s crucial to have knowledgeable and experienced help on your side. There are so many factors that can affect the outcome of your divorce and may impact your relationship with your children indefinitely.
Child support and child custody are two areas that can breed arguments and often require a court to decide what is best for all involved parties. Understanding the differences between how child support and joint custody are ruled is important to understand both separately as well as how the two work together.
Claiming Child Support
Understanding child support payments and how they’re calculated can be frustrating. The Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) governs child support obligations during separation and after divorce. Each state has its own formula to determine support obligations and can vary depending on many circumstances, specific to you and your family.
In Florida, child support payments are mainly determined on the parents’ income levels, and then taxes, health insurance, and daycare costs are used to help calculate the final support amounts. Our courts apply the “Income Shares Model,” meaning the court estimates the amount of money each party would spend on their children as if they were to remain together and not divorce. There are many factors to be taken into consideration, so there is not one exact formula to decide just how much child support each party will be required to pay ahead of divorce proceedings.
Joint Custody Agreements
Joint custody is awarded or agreed upon when both parents will share a roll in the responsibilities of raising a child. Oftentimes, courts handle joint custody agreements on a case-by-case basis, as they’re more fluid and circumstantial than child support payment agreements. There’s no exact formula for joint custody, but it tends to be determined by an agreement of a plan that works best for all parties, children included.
Remember there’s also a difference between legal custody and physical custody. Just because one parent has legal custody, they may still only spend a few days a week or month with their child. This leaves the majority of physical custody, or ‘periods of responsibility’ with the other parent. Our courts will take all of this into account when determining child support payments.
Child Support or Joint Custody?
Some may think if joint custody is awarded or agreed upon, that child support is irrelevant. That’s a mistake. Since child support is determined primarily on income levels, joint custody will not necessarily negate a 50/50 split child support payments. Our courts in Florida take into account time spent with a child to determine child support amounts but know that is not the end all be all. Often times, even if parents split their custody 50/50 with their children, one will still owe child support to the other parent.
If you have questions regarding child support, joint custody, or anything in between, don’t hesitate to contact our offices. We’re here and ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (863) 644-5566.