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How Does Child Support Work With Shared Custody In Florida?


Following a divorce or separation in Florida, one parent is often required to pay child support to the other to support the minor children. This raises an important question: Is child support still paid if the parents have share time with the child? In Florida, the answer is “it depends”—the key factors are the amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren) and the monthly income of each parent. In this article, our Largo child support attorney explains the key things to understand about how child support works with shared custody in Florida.

Calculating Child Support in Florida: Combined Monthly Income of the Parents

Our state has child support guidelines in place to help courts determine the appropriate amount that should be paid. Under Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 61.30), the court starts by considering the combined monthly income of the parents. This type of system is sometimes referred to simply as the “income shares” model. It should be noted that “income” is defined broadly for the purposes of calculating child support in Florida. Beyond wages, it can also include things like bonuses, commission payments, business earnings, retirement earnings, and unemployment.

Applying the Income Shares Model to Calculate Child Support in Florida

Florida has a comprehensive child support calculation chart that can be used as a baseline for parents who have a combined monthly income of between $800 and $10,000 and who have no more than six children being supported. Here is a simple example of how income shares works:

  • Imagine that parents have a combined monthly income of $5,000. There is only one child being supported. The guidelines call for $1,000 per month in total child support.

However, the parent with less time-sharing is not necessarily required to pay the full $1,000. If that parent earns $4,000 per month, they make 80 percent of the collective income. As such, they would be responsible for 80 percent of the child support, or $800 per month. 

Child Support and Shared Custody: Amount of Time Spent With Each Parent 

Calculating child support gets even more complicated when both parents substantial shared physical custody of a child. The income shares model still applies as a baseline. However, each parent’s time with the child will be determined as a percentage and the child support will be adjusted accordingly. Consider the previous example where the non-custodial parent owed $800 per month in child support because he or she earned 80 percent of the income. If that parent had 50 percent custody instead of 0 percent custody, their child support obligation would be reduced.

Note: Florida uses the child support guidelines as a baseline. They are presumed to be appropriate, but they can be deviated from with good cause. 

Speak to Our Largo, FL Child Support Lawyer Today

At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Largo child support attorney is a skilled, diligent, and experienced advocate for parents. If you have any questions about child support work with shared custody in Florida, we can help. Call us now or contact us online to set up your confidential initial consultation. Our firm handles child support matters in Largo and throughout Pinellas County.

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