Child support is essentially a payment from the higher income parent to the lower income parent. Child support and timesharing have an interesting relationship. The law values the child and parent relationship. A parent’s right to timesharing is not dependent upon being current in child support. It is a frequent mistake among individuals to assume that timesharing can be denied if an Obligor parent fails to keep up with his or her child support. Such has no such relationship to Florida law.
Another misconception is that child support must go to the child specifically. However, it is a general purpose reimbursement which covers the cost of living in a household with children. The amount of child support paid by each parent is dependent upon the amount the Florida child support guidelines determine. The number of overnights the child or children spend with each parent is one of the factors used to decide a parent’s child support under Florida’s guidelines. There is a chart that is published within the Florida Statutes that shows the amount of child support a child is entitled to.
Florida law requires that generally, where there are minor children then child support should be paid. The principle behind this general rule is that entitlement to support belongs to the children and parents cannot decide not to pay support. There are situations in which a parent does not have a child support obligation. In Florida, this must either be because the amount of support owed is very minimal, as determined by the guidelines, or the specific reasons must be enumerated in the child support order. The law allows up to a 5% deviation from the guidelines without further enumeration. Florida has a form known as a Child Support Guideline Worksheet which is required to be filed in every divorce and paternity case where child support is determined. The guidelines account for some of the specific costs of supporting a child, such as health insurance and uncovered medical expenses. As long as a parent is awarded at least 20 percent of the overnights, overnights are a specific factor used to determine a parent’s support. Items like rent, electricity, water, and food are essential items that are not specifically accounted for in the guidelines. Other items that are specifically accounted for under the guidelines are taxes, daycare, and medical costs.