The care and upbringing of children following a divorce is often an ongoing conflict for divorcing parents. Child support involves the parent’s financial support of children. The exact amount of financial support will depend on each parent’s financial situation and the needs of the child. Section 61.30 of the Florida Statutes sets forth a schedule of child support payments based on the number of children and parental income. Factors that may add or subtract from the recommended guideline amount include any special needs the child may have, each parent’s financial status and ability to pay, and the number of overnight visits the child spends with each parent.
In lieu of “child custody,” the state of Florida has a preference for shared parental responsibility for children in the form of parenting plans and timesharing. This means that each parent will fully retain parental rights and responsibilities to the child; thus, both will have to consult with each other before making major life decisions that affect the child’s well-being, including education, medical decisions, and religion. A parent may seek sole parental responsibility in certain cases, however it is more difficult to prove that one parent should be excluded from making important decisions in a child’s life.
Timesharing basically allocates the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The primary consideration determining the timesharing schedule is the “best interests of the child.” Section 63.13(3) of the Florida Statutes lists twenty factors to be considered, including: the ability of each parent to have a close relationship with the child, where the child goes to school, whether child care would be needed, the physical and mental health of each parent, the child’s preference, and other relevant factors.