When determining child custody or as it is known today, parental responsibility and visitation rights, Florida law requires that the court consider the best interests of the children. This may sound simple but it involves many factors and is quite complicated. The court will make a parenting plan determination after considering a variety of different factors including the living conditions of both parents as well as their ability to maintain a good place in which the children can be raised. This can be an extremely emotional experience for both the parents and children. The court can use evidence submitted at the hearing, including testimony, to determine the best interests of the children.
As children get older, their needs change. Consistency is important when considering visitation. Prior to the divorce, both parents must attend a parenting class. While most divorcing couples view this as burdensome and unnecessary, it’s a minimum safeguard the state has implemented in order to ensure the welfare of the children. In theory at least, it’s not a bad idea.
Once child custody is determined, child support is a question to take into consideration to be ordered by the custodial parent. Child support is a legal duty paid by both parents that is not for the personal use of the receiving parent. The money is to be used for the support and rearing of the children. The parents do not have the right to waive child support. The amount of child support that one parent pays to the other parent is determined by the Florida Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines determine the amount of child support to be paid by both parents by using a formula and other factors to calculate these numbers. It is important that this formula is calculated correctly so that the correct amount of child support is obtained. Factors that will be considered when calculating the proper child support are ordered by the court. Some of the factors that are considered relevant for child support are: the amount of overnights that the non-custodial parent has the children, financial needs including insurance, payments and every day expenses, and the income of both parents. If the amount of overnights that the non-custodial parent has with the children in his/her custody is 73 nights or more, then the amount of child support will be adjusted.
Child support may be modified at any time if a substantial, permanent, or unanticipated change in circumstances arises. These circumstances can include factors like a change in either parents income of 15% or greater (increase or decrease), the termination of a child’s attendance at daycare, the disability of a parent, or an increase in the costs of factors like health insurance or daycare. A permanent change is one that has lasted or will last for at least one year or more. Generally, a modification can only be effective as of the date of the action or modification. As a result, if you have a modification file it as soon as possible or any debts that accumulated due to non-payment of child support after a change but before the modification action was filed will still be owed to the custodial parent.