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Is Child Support Necessary if the Parents Split Custody 50/50?


There are a lot of misconceptions about Florida child support, but by far one of the biggest is that child support is only necessary if one parent has more custody than the other. This is not the case. While the ideal situation is one in which both parents are responsible for exactly 50 percent of their child’s finances, the ideal situation rarely, if ever happens. Even if two parents share custody and custodial rights of their child, chances are slim that each parent’s total monthly expenses are exactly the same and that they both bring in the same amount of money each year. Even if that was the case, one parent would still have to pay child support, so how does the court determine who that person is?

At the office of Edward J. Jennings, P.A., we can attest to the fact that court orders are not always fair, and that no one parent is ever truly happy with the outcome of their child custody hearing. That said, our Fort Lauderdale child custody attorneys do everything in their power to obtain the best outcome for our clients. In order to do that though, divorcing parents need to know how the courts make their decisions.

How Child Support is Determined in Florida 

In Florida, child support is not decided based solely on which parent has the child the most, which is evident in the fact that even when parents do split physical custody 50/50, one is still required to pay a monthly amount. Florida family courts give weight to several factors, but the biggest one is annual income: whoever makes more money will likely be the one who pays child support. That said, the courts will give weight to other factors as well, including the following:

  • Insurances (health, life, dental);
  • Extra childcare costs;
  • Residential time the child spends with each parent;
  • Income tax deductions;
  • Monthly expenses; and
  • Other expenses as related to the wellbeing of the child.

For a more thorough understanding of how the Florida courts determine time-sharing, custody, and other matters related to the shared child, review Florida Statutes 61.13.

Can Child Support Ever be $0? 

According to Florida’s child support guidelines, child support can never be $0. That said, if each parents’ incomes are exactly the same or as close to the same as possible, a judge may decide that child support is not necessary if both parents share 50/50 custody. If the incomes of both parents are not the same, but if the higher-earning parent pays for the child’s health insurance, daycare expenses, and other necessities, the judge may also deem child support unnecessary. This is also only the case if the parents split custody 50/50.

Work With a Fort Lauderdale Child Support Attorney 

If you and your child’s other parent split custody 50/50, and if the both of you bring home about the same amount of money each year, child support may not be necessary. However, the law is tricky, and what makes sense may not always be what the courts decide. A skilled Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer can assess your options and help the family judge see why no child support or minimal child support is best for your particular situation. Call Edward J. Jennings, P.A. or contact us online to speak with a knowledgeable attorney today.



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