Child support intends to ensure that a child continues to be provided with an acceptable standard of living after their parents’ divorce. One of the most prevalent myths about child support in Florida is that the court can only order child support if one parent is awarded more timesharing rights. This is not how child support works in Florida.
So, is child support awarded when parents have equal timesharing rights?” Child support can be awarded even when parents have equal timesharing rights. There are other factors that the court considers apart from the timesharing situation when making child support decisions. Read on to learn more.
Understanding How Child Support Works in Florida
Contrary to what you may have heard or read, in Florida, child support decisions are not based solely on which parent is awarded more timesharing rights. Judges consider multiple factors when making child support decisions. One of the most crucial factors judges consider when making child support decisions is the financial situation of each parent. If you and your child’s other parent are awarded equal timesharing rights in your divorce, the parent with the higher income and earnings will likely be ordered to pay child support to the other parent.
The following are some other factors courts consider when making child support decisions;
- Monthly expenses
- Daycare expenses
- The child’s needs
- Childcare and healthcare costs
- Income tax deductions
Can the Court Award No Child Support?
In Florida, judges are required to award child support in divorce cases because both parents have a legal obligation to support their child financially. Nevertheless, in cases where both parents make the same amount of money and timesharing is split equally, a judge may rule that no child support is required. Such cases are, however, rare. The court may also rule that child support is unnecessary if parents have equal timesharing rights and the higher-earning parent pays for the child’s daycare expenses and insurance and covers many other child-related costs.
Voluntary Unemployment and Underemployment
Unfortunately, sometimes parents choose to be unemployed or underemployed to avoid or lower child support payments. According to Florida law, the court can impute income if a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. Imputing income means that a parent is assigned income. Imputed income is based on the parent’s employment potential and probable earning capacity. Things courts consider when imputing income include work history and qualifications.
It is crucial to note that if you are seeking to have the court assign income to your child’s other parent, you have the burden of proof. You have the burden of showing that it is proper for the court to impute income. You are also responsible for showing what amount the income should be imputed. You should also note that the court will not impute income to the other parent without allowing them an opportunity to be heard.
If you are considering asking the court to impute income to the other parent, it is best that you retain a qualified child support lawyer.
Contact Us for Legal Help
If you are in Florida and need help with a divorce or child support case, contact professional Tampa Bay family law attorneys at Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A.