When establishing child support, usually the parent with a higher income will become the obligor (payor) and the parent with the lower income will become the obligee (receiver). Factors that determine who will become the obligor or obligee are the respective net incomes of the parents and the amount of overnights a child will spend with a parent.
Let’s continue reiterating that each parent has a duty and obligation to provide for the basic needs of their children. Therefore, the basic child support amount is established by combining the parents’ net income. Then, the court consults the Child Support Guidelines, which stipulates how much child support should be granted given both parents’ net income and the number of children they have together.
The statute provides an adjustment of child support when a parent exercises at least 20% of overnights with the child during the year. Also, the court may deviate from the child support guidelines based on the following factors Florida Statutes §61.30:
- Extraordinary medical, psychological, educational, or dental expenses.
- Independent income of the child, not to include moneys received by a child from supplemental security income.
- The payment of support for a parent which has been regularly paid and for which there is a demonstrated need.
- Seasonal variations in one or both parents’ incomes or expenses.
- The age of the child, taking into account the greater needs of older children.
- Special needs, such as costs that may be associated with the disability of a child, that have traditionally been met within the family budget even though fulfilling those needs will cause the support to exceed the presumptive amount established by the guidelines.
- Total available assets of the obligee, obligor, and the child.
- The impact of the Internal Revenue Service Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and dependency exemption and waiver of that exemption. The court may order a parent to execute a waiver of the Internal Revenue Service dependency exemption if the paying parent is current in support payments.
- An application of the child support guidelines schedule that requires a person to pay another person more than 55 percent of his or her gross income for a child support obligation for current support resulting from a single support order.
- The particular parenting plan, a court-ordered time-sharing schedule, or a time-sharing arrangement exercised by agreement of the parties, such as where the child spends a significant amount of time, but less than 20 percent of the overnights, with one parent, thereby reducing the financial expenditures incurred by the other parent; or the refusal of a parent to become involved in the activities of the child.
- Any other adjustment that is needed to achieve an equitable result which may include, but not be limited to, a reasonable and necessary existing expense or debt. Such expense or debt may include, but is not limited to, a reasonable and necessary expense or debt that the parties jointly incurred during the marriage.
Each case is different, and in some cases, they might be no child support due to the other parent. For instance if both parents make approximately the same amount of money and the child spends equal amount of nights with each parent during the year, most likely child support will be zero. In other cases, you could find yourself paying more child support for only one child, than your divorced friend who might be paying the same amount and has three children. The parents cannot waive child support. However, there might be ways to waive retroactive child support depending on the parties’ circumstances.
If you have questions regarding child support, we are here to help you. At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this particular situation in their own lives. Please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.