How Does Timesharing Influence Child Support?
You have tried to save your marriage, but it has not worked. You are now faced with the reality of divorce. To get through it with your sanity and dignity intact, you should inform yourself of the various issues you will need to work through. If you have children, it is especially important to protect your parental rights and to ensure that they are financially and materially secure.
In the state of Florida, both parents are expected to financially support their minor children as though the family unit were still intact. Judges lean toward shared custody arrangements (called shared parental responsibility), unless there is solid proof that one of the two parents is grossly unfit to care for a child. If you have been awarded timesharing with the minor children for more than 50% of the time, then the other parent will be ordered to pay child support. Even if you have 50/50 timesharing, if you make more money than the other parent, then you will still have to pay child support. The aim of these child support laws is to ensure that the minor children’s financial needs are still met and that there is no negative financial impact on the quality of their life.
Before going through divorce, child custody, and child support proceedings, you should hire an experienced and highly reputable divorce attorney near you in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, FL area. Essentially, no one knows Florida family law better than someone like Sarasota divorce lawyer Matthew Z. Martell. You will need such insight as you negotiate with your ex over the final divorce and child custody arrangements.
Child Support Payments
Florida uses the Income Shares Model to determine the amount of child support that each parent must pay. First, an estimate is made of the amount of money that would be spent on the child if you and your soon to be ex-spouse were still married. This total is then divided between the two of you according to your respective incomes. If your ex makes more money than you, they will pay more in child support and vice versa.
The time that each parent spends with the children is also considered. The number of overnights your children spend with the other parent is reflected in the child support payments. When your kids spend nights over with the other parent, the latter is paying for food, entertainment, transportation, etc. These are legitimate child-related expenses. The more overnights your children spend with their other parent, then the less they will need to pay in child support. If the children spend the same number of overnights with both parents, then the difference in your incomes will be the primary factor in determining the monthly child support.
Spend More Time and Less Money
If you are the parent with less timesharing, it may be possible for you to spend more time with your kids and less in child support payments. Your circumstances may have changed after the divorce, you may not have realized just how your child support payments would affect your finances, or you may want to just spend more time with your kids now. No matter your reason, Courts almost always look favorably upon parents who want to spend more time with their children if it is legitimate and not simply to try to get out of child support. They are likely to welcome your request to reach a different timesharing arrangement—one that gives you more time with your kids in exchange for less money in child support payments to your ex—again if it is legitimate and you are looking for up to 50% of the overall timesharing.
It may be possible to change your child support arrangement through family law mediation process. This is a much better option than another round of litigation with your ex. A highly rated and well-reviewed Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida family law attorney like Matthew Z. Martell will give you the advice you need to pursue this option. In most cases, you will not need a reason to increase the amount of time you spend with your kids. But if your ex contests your requests, then you should be prepared to show why you want to change the Parenting Plan, timesharing arrangement, as well as the life conditions that make it possible for you to put this new Parenting Plan into action.
If you need help changing your timesharing arrangement, then you should speak with an experienced and highly qualified divorce attorney in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, FL like divorce attorney Matthew Z. Martell. Please contact us at (941) 556-7020 for a 15-minute free initial phone consultation. We are here to help you!
Your Guide to Child Support in Florida
You are going through a divorce. You must therefore look out for your material interests and those of your children. Before you begin the legal proceedings, you should hire one of the best divorce attorneys near you that you can find in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida area. Sarasota divorce attorneys like Matthew Z. Martell have deep insight into the laws that govern child custody and child support in Florida.
Child support is defined as the amount of money that one parent pays to the other parent to help the latter meet the daily needs of the child. If you are a parent, you will need to provide your child with food, clothing, and housing. However, you are not required to do so alone. The state of Florida is very strict about enforcing child support orders. The state aims to ensure that the child receives as much financial support as they would if the marriage had not ended in divorce.
Divorce mediation in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida is one way to resolve child support issues. You will still require the legal representation and advocacy of a Sarasota divorce attorney, but the mediation forum is much less stressful and adversarial. If this is not possible, and if you can only settle this matter through litigation, then you should hire an experienced and highly reviewed Sarasota divorce lawyer with the experience needed to prevail in court.
Before you start these legal proceedings, you should know some basic facts about child support in Florida. Here is a brief guide to help you get started:
- The amount you will have pay in child support
The amount of money that you make and the amount of time you spend with the child are the primary factors that determine child support. If you are the “custodial” parent and your ex makes more money than you, then he/she will pay more in child support. If you are the “non-custodial parent”, but the child spends as many overnights with you as with your ex, then this will lower your child support payments.
- Modifying the child support order
You have the right to seek a modification of child support at any time. If you want to lower your child support payments, you will need to give good reasons why. One of the most common ways to lower your payments is to spend more time with your kids—that is, increase their overnights visitations with you. The courts view the money you spend on food, transportation, and entertainment on such nights as legitimate payments for your child. This can lead a judge to issue a new order that reflects this increase in time spent with your little ones.
- Child support is not the same as alimony.
The child support money you pay is for the day-to-day care of your child. Alimony is a completely separate thing; it is money paid to your ex, who cannot maintain the same standard of living without your income.
- Your spouse cannot refuse you visitation.
If you miss child support payments, you will be in trouble with the law. However, your ex cannot refuse you visitation as a result. The one is not dependent on the other. In other words, child support is not payment to visit and bond with your child. You have that right regardless of when and how much you pay for their upkeep.
- You do not need to pay your ex-spouse directly.
If you and your ex are still on good terms, then you can choose to give money directly to her when you see her. If this is not possible because the two of you have a strained relationship, then you can have money directly taken out of your paycheck and sent to the Florida State Disbursement Unit in Tallahassee, Florida who would then pay your ex. Many people choose this option because it is automatic, it is painless, it is on a set date and time, and because the State of Florida keeps a records of all payments made and received for you. So, it leads to less hassle and less fighting about child support in the long run.
If you have any further questions about child support in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida, then you should contact the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell at (941) 556-7020 and request a 15-minute Free Initial Phone Consultation. We are here to help you!