Tampa Divorce Attorney Advice Child Support in Joint Custody

Child Support in Joint Custody

Child Support in Joint Custody
Divorce can be difficult for everyone. Even in the most amicable divorces, the family unit as you know it is split. Many times, the parents want to stay equally involved in their children’s lives and joint custody the best way to do this.

Determining child support calculation for joint custody will depend on each parent’s respective incomes. If both parents have the same net income, neither parent may have to pay the other child support. If there is a disparity between net incomes, where one parent is earning more than the other each year, the higher earning parent may have to pay some child support to the other parent. However, it is important that all offsets are factored in, including: payment of health insurance, daycare, filing status and tax exemptions.

The guiding principle for the Family Court Judge when deciding child support in joint custody issues in Tampa, Pinellas, Pasco and the surrounding counties is the “best interests” of the child. If parents are unable to reach an agreement on custody, the court will determine what custody is in the best interests of the child by applying the statutory factors found in section 61.13, Florida Statutes. Each party will present evidence, through their own testimony or the testimony of witnesses, such as family, friends, teachers, etc… The evidence will attempt to demonstrate why a particular factor favors that parent over the other parent. The Court will then assess all the evidence as applied to the statutory factors and make a determination of custody in the best interests of the child.

In an uncontested divorce, the parents reach an agreement on custody. This agreement is then memorialized or written down in a document called a parenting plan. The parenting plan will set forth the time sharing for each parent during the school year, the holidays and the summer. It will address how the parents will decide upon extracurricular activities and how those expenses will be paid. Having a lawyer help you figure out the advance needs you may have and outline it in a parenting plan adds accountability and gives you clear structure for how to best meet the needs of your children.

Parties can elect to secure the services of an expert to help them establish why their proposal for custody is in the child’s best interests. Another tool to assist the court in making a custody determination is the use of a Guardian ad Litem. This is an individual who acts as the representative of the child. The Guardian ad Litem will conduct a similar factual review and recommend to the court who they believe the custody should be granted to. Contact LaFrance Law for a consultation to discuss your child custody questions. Shannon LaFrance is an experienced and compassionate Tampa Bay family law attorney and she is also a Guardian ad Litem.