When it comes to matters involving children including the calculation of child support, few people are actually prepared for the emotional toll that these legal battles can take. After years of helping clients through the challenging circumstance of child custody battles for parental responsibility and timeshare schedules and child support cases, I have learned that having an experienced attorney who can be attentive to your family’s needs throughout the entire process can make all the difference in the world.
Whether custody is being decided as part of a divorce action, or in a situation where two parents decide not to raise their child together, a Parenting Plan and time-share schedule must be established to outline what happens to the child going forward. If the parents cannot agree on how to share the responsibilities for being parents as well as how to share the child’s time, the court will decide for the parents. As part of the process, the court must focus on the best interests of the child with the general view that it is in the child’s best interests to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents whenever possible. The courts give fathers the same consideration as mothers in determining what is best for a child. Further, there is no specific time-share schedule preferred by a court. A parenting decision is based on an analysis of each family’s specific facts after applying the statutory factors set forth in Florida Statutes 61.13. Each case is weighed on an individual basis.
In cases involving child support, both parents share in the financial responsibility of supporting the child. The amount of child support is based on guidelines defined by Florida Statute 61.30. In Florida, the Courts apply an Income Shares Model, based upon the concept that a child is entitled to receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received had the parents decided to remain together. The model uses each parent’s incomes from all sources less allowable deductions as well as taxes and health care costs in the calculation.
Child support guidelines are standards used to calculate the financial support needed for a child and the amount a parent has to pay. The use of guidelines is designed to ensure that the amount of child support calculated is fair. The amount of support determined by the statute is a presumptive amount, which means in most cases the court will order the guideline amount. However, the court is granted some flexibility based upon the facts of a case when applicable.
Few things in life can be more challenging than a fight over custody for your children. Leah Meshelle Snyder, P.A. has been helping clients for over 20 years to ensure that their needs and the needs of their children are taken care of. If you are struggling through a difficult child custody battle, call Leah today and put her experience on your side.