Although no one disputes the importance of a traditional family, today’s reality means that some things need to change. Many more fathers in Florida are gaining or sharing custody and need help and support from family and community alike.
Child support in Florida
In Florida, parents must provide financial support for children until they reach the legal age of 18. This can be extended to 19 years if the child is still in school full time and living at home. That includes traditional high school or an equivalency program.
The amount of child support is calculated on what’s known as an income share model that takes the income of both parents into account. The objective is to ensure that no child falls into poverty after a divorce or when the child is living in a single-parent household, regardless of who has physical custody.
How child support is calculated
Support payments are no longer based on gender roles or who is perceived to have more money. The courts also have safeguards in place to protect the interests of children if one parent is intentionally un- or underemployed to avoid supporting their child.
The calculations are based on the gross income of the parents, minus taxes owed by the parents, the cost of the parent’s own health insurance and other legal obligations like union dues or professional memberships, spousal support, and child support for children from other relationships.
Necessary expenses for raising a child are then calculated and divided equitably between the parents.
Other considerations include whether custody is shared and by what percentage of the time the child is physically with one parent or the other. The idea is to ensure that both parents contribute to the child’s quality of life according to their ability.
Changing attitudes towards child support and custody
When it comes to child custody, courts are looking more favorably about making decisions that honor the importance of the father in a child’s life. Still, custody and support matters are sometimes volatile territories even when parents have an otherwise amicable relationship.
Before requesting an alteration in support or custody arrangements, it’s important to keep emotions in check and demonstrate active engagement with the children emotionally and financially.
Courts try hard to do what’s in the children’s best interest. It’s up to parents to show the courts that the parents and extended family are on the same page when it comes to the kids.