Parenting Plans and Child Support
Custody, Parenting Plans and Child Support
When divorce is contemplated, the first consideration should be toward any children of the marriage. When discussing parenting and time sharing, it is important to note that so long as there is no detriment to the child, Florida law requires Shared Parental Responsibility. It has been found that this best serves most children. As a result of this shared responsibility, the children have the benefit of both parents involvement in their education, health, wellbeing, and future. This is yet another, and perhaps the best reason, to engage in civility during the divorce process. Both parents are required to complete a parenting plan and generally speaking, the earlier in the process the better.
There has been a significant change in the last few years regarding how courts view time-sharing. Many courts routinely find that a 50/50 time-sharing arrangement when the parents live reasonably close is in the best interest of the children. It is important that parenting plans be as detailed as possible, because modifying the plan at a later date may not be possible. Additionally, if the plan is very specific, and as a result of the time-sharing schedule child support is minimal or non-existent, both parties need to ensure that they comply with the schedule or inequity can occur.
Florida law provides specific guidelines for the amount of child support to be paid by each party based on their incomes and the time-sharing schedule. Consequently, complete and accurate financial statements are required from both parties. There are times when deviations from the guidelines are appropriate, depending on the circumstances.
In today’s world many parents are choosing not to marry, but to simply raise children together. This creates additional problems in the event that the relationship does not survive. It is important, as the biological Father, to ensure that your name is placed on the birth certificate. There is nothing wrong with obtaining an order establishing paternity when the parties are not married, even if all appears to be going fine in the relationship. It can simplify issues later in the event of a split. If there is a split, even a congenial one, the biological Father should seek an Order establishing his paternity, time-sharing, child support and other rights.