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In most family law cases involving minor children, there is the responsibility as a parent to support the child(ren) after a divorce or the establishment of paternity. In Florida, both parents are required to financially support the child(ren), but only the non-residential parent will be directed to pay his/her portion of the support to the other parent. This does not mean that the residential parent is not contributing to the support of the child(ren).
Florida has adopted guidelines for child support that the court is required to follow. Based on the guidelines, child support is calculated using both parent's income, the needs of the children under the guidelines (medical and child care costs, for example), and, to an extent, the number of overnights spent with each parent. Child support can be recalculated from time to time based on a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the most recent child support order, such as an increase or decrease in a parent's income.
Florida courts can also consider a parent's failure to exercise time-sharing in the recalculation of child support. Florida Statute 61.30 states, "A parent's failure to regularly exercise the court-ordered or agreed time-sharing schedule not caused by the other parent which resulted in the adjustment of the amount of child support pursuant to subparagraph (a)10 or paragraph (b) shall be deems a substantial change of circumstances for purposes of modifying the child support award. A modification pursuant to this paragraph is retroactive to the date the non-custodial parent first failed to regularly exercise the court-ordered or agreed time-sharing schedule."
In other words, if a parent does not exercise his or her timesharing as provided in an order or judgment, the parent that receives child support can request more child support. Further, the child support increase can be effective from the date the non-residential parent stopped seeing the child(ren), automatically creating an arrearage. This is another reason parents should exercise their time-sharing… aside from the love they have for their child(ren).