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).
How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
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 childcare 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 deemed 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
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).