Parenting, Time Sharing & Child Support

Parents involved in divorce no longer argue about legal custody, primary physical custody or visitation rights. Instead, they work through the details of time-sharing arrangements in the new mandatory parenting plans required in Florida divorce since our statutes were amended, effective October 2008.

To learn how your rights and responsibilities as a divorcing parent may have changed since the new law came into effect, contact Brodie & Friedman in Boca Raton. Our lawyers have kept pace with changes in state law, court rules and public policies for as long as we have been in practice. We can help you work through the new approach to parental time sharing.

Just What Does Time Sharing Mean Exactly?

Time sharing is the term now used to cover what used to be meant by physical child custody and parenting time. Rather than making a somewhat artificial distinction between custody and visitation, the law now recognizes that labels aren’t nearly as important as the quality and depth of each parent’s relationship with his or her own children, even (or perhaps especially) after divorce.

Time sharing is an essential component of the parenting plan that divorcing parents are encouraged to develop together when their marriage dissolves. The parenting plan can address matters of basic parental responsibility, such as decisions about school, religion, travel, medical care and other matters formerly covered under the term legal custody.

Stipulations as to time sharing address the question of which parent is to be with the child at what times. Time-sharing arrangements should also take into account such details as pickup and drop-off, distance and travel times, day care, the child’s educational and social needs, holidays, and backup plans if an emergency prevents a parent from punctual compliance. Parents should also spell out things like phone, e-mail or text contact when the child is staying with the other parent.

A parenting plan should specify a detailed schedule covering a period of a year, a school year or some similar block of time with a provision for substantially similar arrangements for the following period. That detailed schedule is what constitutes the time-sharing agreement.

Child Support In Florida

Whether parents are divorced or unmarried, both parents are responsible for supporting the child, either through physical custody or financial support. In Florida, child support is based on a formula that incorporates the income of both parents, the amount of parental time-sharing enjoyed by each parent and other factors. Of course, a formula is only as good as the information that is entered into it. At the law firm of Brodie & Friedman, P.A., in Boca Raton, Florida, our goal is to ensure the proper amount of support is awarded by getting all of the facts on the table.

While Florida’s prior laws required a parent to have at least 40 percent of overnights before child support obligations would be reduced, changes to the law now allow for a reduction for parents who have at least 20 percent of overnights with the child.

Changes in Florida Laws And Guidelines

The way in which Florida calculates child support changed in 2010. Under the new laws, courts are better able to tailor an order to the situation at hand. Under Florida’s guidelines, the income of both parents, the specific amount of overnights with the child each parent has, and other financial factors are taken into consideration.

Modification and Enforcement

The amount of child support is modifiable. After a divorce, we can assist with post-judgment modifications to increase or decrease payments. These changes can be made in situations involving salary changes, changes to the needs of the child, such as medical bills, and other substantial changes.

Changes to laws in 2010 eliminated the requirement for parents to return to court once a child is emancipated to terminate child support obligations. Rather, specific termination dates are now outlined in the original order.

If child support is not being paid, our family law attorneys can petition the court to enforce the support orders. We will stand up for your rights. We have over 30 years of combined experience helping people get the results they need.

Our Family Law Practice proudly serves the communities of Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Martin County.

Contact Brodie & Friedman, P.A. today to discuss consultation—even though we may never need to take your case to court, our ability to do so from a position of strength brings immeasurable influence to negotiations across a range of disputed marital issues.